India, China have wisdom to solve border row, says Li

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Reiterating his belief that India and China should "shake hands across the Himalayas", visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Tuesday said both countries "have the wisdom" to find a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution" to their festering boundary problem.

Li, addressing a talk organized by FICCI and the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) at the Taj Palace Hotel here, also pushed for greater economic integration between the two Asian giants and combining the strengths of their 2.5 billion people to make an impact on the global scene.

He said he had "candid and friendly talks" with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a wide range of issues, and both sides were "satisfied" with the talks.

On the boundary issue, which saw a three-week stand off between their troops earlier this month, Li said both sides had agreed to push forward negotiations through their special representatives, who are to meet soon.

"Both have the wisdom to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution," he said, and added that both should use their relevant mechanisms and manage their defences to ensure peace and tranquility on the border.

On the issue of cross-border river water flow, over which India has flagged its concerns, Li said China understands New Delhi's concerns and has all along provided hydrological information out of "humanitarian" concern.

On the trade deficit, which is heavily tilted in China's favour, Li assured more access to Indian products in the Chinese market. He also said he supported Chinese investment in India. "We have the ability to mitigate India's trade imbalance," he assured, adding that "dynamism in trade balance is sustainable".

On security, he said a peaceful South Asia is in China's interests and added that both sides had discussed all matters of concern and looked to further address issues. "And as long as we do so it will take our relations to new heights," he added.

Though there are differences between them, "their shared interests outweigh the differences", he said and added that their ties had reached such maturity that "clouds cannot send out the brilliant sun of their relationship".

Li said India and China have launched a "new agenda" for developing their ties and both were keen to take their ties "to new heights of strategic growth".

Li, who impressed his elite audience with the traditional Indian greeting of 'Namaste' at the start of his address peppered it with interesting quotes.

Emphasising that the two nations must foster closer relations to together make an impact on the Asian and global sphere, Li said: "I believe that when India and China speak in one voice the world must listen" -- something that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said in the past.

Reiterating his philosophy of the handshake across the Himalayas, the mountain ranges that separate the two neighbours, Li said India and China not only need to shake hands but "stand at a higher level (from the Himalayas) to get a bird's eye view" of their ties and the world.

Stressing on the need to combine the complementarities of their two markets, Li said if every one of their 2.5 billion people purchases a mobile phone "it would blow up the order list of the mobile companies".

Li said China was pushing growth in its western region and proposed that the region should connect with India's Look East policy.

Li also reiterated some points of the India-China joint statement, including of China supporting India's candidature to the UN Security Council.

Li left for Mumbai at the end of a three-day trip, his first halt of a four-nation trip that will also take him to Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany. This was his first foreign visit after assuming charge as part of a leadership transition in Beijing in March.


Published Date: May 22, 2013 01:15 am | Updated Date: May 22, 2013 07:52 am