India, China accelerate diplomatic engagement amid simmering tension

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NEW DELHI - After a lull, leaders of India and China are all set to engage at a diplomatic level in the coming weeks.

The Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, will be meeting his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on the margins of an ASEAN Summit late next week, even as the relationship between the two Asian giants continues to be tense.

This will be the first high-level meeting between Singh and Jiabao since China refused to grant a visa to India’s northern army commander, Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal, on grounds that he was in command and overseeing operations in Kashmir, a territory that Beijing considers as being dispute.

India is miffed over China changed and hardened stance on Jammu and Kashmir and in a quid pro quo move, suspended defence cooperation with China.

The Singh-Jiabao meeting will take place in the backdrop of New Delhi’s growing frustration over increasing Chinese investment and presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Following the meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, another high-profile Sino-Indian engagement is scheduled to take place in early November.

Li Keqiang, a member of a Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party,is expected to visit New Delhi, sources said.

He will call on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit.

In the middle of November, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is likely to meet his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jeichi, on the sidelines of a Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) Foreign Ministers’ meet in China.

Prime Minister Singh is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a G-20 Summit meeting in Seoul, South Korea.

A meeting between the Special representatives of India and China ndia’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and China’s Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, is also on the cards.

Analysts believe that this increased engagement between India and China will help in allaying mistrust and apprehensions in both countries.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said:”There is enough space in the world for both India and China to grow. India and China are two big Asian powers, and when two big powers sit together and meet, there are bound to be differences.” By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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