New India government in talks with China FM

Foreign Minister Wang Yi and counterpart Sushma Swaraj hold "productive" talks in New Delhi on issues including trade.

    New India government in talks with China FM
    China dismissed the idea that the ''difficult'' border dispute should get in the way of improving relations [Reuters]

    China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has promised to help India's economic development and emphasised that the two countries see eye-to-eye of most issues, playing down difference over a trade deficit and a festering border dispute.

    Wang met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Sunday in New Delhi during a two-day visit to build relations with the Narendra Modi government which came to power last month on a pledge to revive the economy.

    Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said talks between Wang and Swaraj on economic and other issues were "productive and substantive".

    Wang is expected on Monday to meet Modi, who has extended olive branches to traditional rivals China and Pakistan since coming to office despite his hardline nationalist reputation.

    Wang told the Hindu newspaper he had travelled to the capital as a special envoy of China's president to "cement our existing friendship and explore further cooperation".

    "China is ready to work with our Indian friends for an even brighter future of our strategic and cooperative partnership," Wang said.

    Tibetans protest

    Wang said that India and China were close to deals setting up China-dedicated industrial parks in India, but that Beijing was still hoping for more preferential policies.

    Tibetans held a protest in New Delhi urging Modi to raise their issues

    He also dismissed the idea that the "difficult" dispute over their 4,000km Himalayan border should get in the way of improving relations.

    Seventeen rounds of talks have failed to resolve the disagreement, over which the countries fought a brief but bloody war in 1962 and engaged in a three-week standoff last year.

    China claims around 90,000 square kilometres of land in India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, while India says China is occupying 38,000 square kilometeres of territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas.

    Earlier on Sunday, about 100 Tibetans held a protest in New Delhi, urging Modi to raise the issue with Wang.

    China claims Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries, while Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent until China occupied it in 1950.

    India is now home to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled the region after a failed 1959 uprising and trekked across the Himalayan mountains to the city of Dharamsala in northern India.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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