President Pranab Mukherjee has wrapped up his four-day visit to China. He returns after discussing sticky issues with top Chinese leaders. Boundary issue, cooperation in combating terrorism and a need for a predictable nuclear regime, were some of the issues that featured in his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang that lasted more than an hour.
On Thursday, Mukherjee told President Xi that Sino-India relations had acquired “strategic significance” and if the two countries work together they can generate “tremendous momentum” for global peace and prosperity.
India sought China’s cooperation in international fora like the UN in the fight against terrorism.
“There are strong sentiments on the issue (of terrorism) in India because many lives have been lost. For the elimination of international and cross-border terrorism there is no such thing as good terrorists or bad terroris. They don’t have any ideology….We must have an expansion of cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally through close cooperation in the UN. Broadly, there was acceptance on this position. We want cooperation in the UN,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said in the press briefing after the talks.
India also asked China to ensure a predictable nuclear regime as New Delhi seeks to join the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
On the civil nuclear programme, the broad approach Mukherjee took was that like many other countries India suffered from acute shortage of power with over 300 million people having no access to energy. At the same time, it was conscious of the responsibility of the need to balance requirement with responsibilities on climate change.
“We need to have a predictable environment. We work closely very with China on climate change and we are reasonably confident that in our move in the quest for civil nuclear power China will play a positive role,” he said.
Both these issues assume significance in the context of China’s action in blocking the United Nations’ move to blacklist Jaish-e- Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and the bid to block India’s admission to the NSG on the ground it has not signed the Non-Proflieration Treaty (NPT).
On the vexed border issue, both sides acknowledged the fact that differences should not come in the way of improving ties in other areas. The main intention was to maintain peace and tranquillity while addressing the boundary question.
Interestingly, in the Chinese briefing to the media after talks between Mukherjee and Xi, officials said though there was no direct discussion about India’s access to NSG, the two leaders mentioned the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and agreed to strengthen cooperation and exchanges in this regard.
The 80-minute meeting took place at the Great Hall of the People on the penultimate day of President Mukherjee’s four-day maiden state visit to China.
“The two sides should appropriately address our differences,” President Xi Jinping told Mukherjee during their meeting, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The two leaders also agreed to further advance the boundary negotiations under the framework of special representatives so that the tranquillity and peace of the boundary region will be maintained, said Xiao Qian, the Director General of Asia department of the foreign ministry.
Earlier in Guangzhou, President Mukherjee addressed business leaders with the aim to attract greater Chinese investment in the various government schemes in India. It was also aimed at increasing bilateral trade between the two countries.
Trade deficit between India and China has risen to USD 44.7 billion during April-January period of 2015-16. India’s exports to China stood at USD 7.56 billion during the period whereas the imports has jumped to USD 52.26 billion in April-January.
After the meet, President Li suggested the two sides align China’s ‘Made in China 2025′ campaign and ‘Internet Plus’ initiative with India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns, Xinhua said.
Before leaving, Mukherjee extended an invitation to Xi to visit India which he accepted.
(With inputs from PTI)