Manmohan meets Hu, boundary talks set for Aug 7-8 (Lead)

June 16th, 2009 - 12:39 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Manish Chand
Yekaterinburg (Russia), June 15 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began his visit to Russia with bilateral talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao here Monday night. The meeting comes weeks before the special representatives of the two countries hold their next round of negotiations on their decades-old boundary dispute Aug 7-8 in New Delhi.

The two leaders discussed a host of bilateral and global issues, including pulling their collective economic weight to frame solutions to the global financial meltdown. They also focused on scaling up their economic relations which have shown a steady improvement despite some difficult political issues.

Bilateral trade has already exceeded $50 billion.

Manmohan Singh and Hu will meet again at the first BRIC summit, set for Tuesday afternoon, which will also be attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Brazil’s Lula da Silva.

They will also meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit - a six-nation grouping dominated by Russia and China - at which India has been invited as an observer.

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will meet in the Indian capital Aug 7-8 for the 12th round of talks to resolve the India-China boundary dispute, official sources said.

The sources described the progress in boundary negotiations as “satisfactory”, but indicated that the final settlement, in accordance with guiding principles and political parameters decided in 2005, still has to cross many hurdles.

Ahead of the meeting, official sources sought to downplay the so-called Chinese threat, saying the government’s position should not be mixed up with stray statements coming from individuals.

Former Indian Air Force chief Fali H. Major has recently described China as “India’s greatest threat” - remarks that created a ripple in the strategic establishment in India. The sources, however, pointed out that there are “difficult issues” which the two countries are trying to resolve through various bilateral mechanisms.

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