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China, India must be able to resolve border issues quicker, says Khurshid

Beijing: China and India should "examine" the recent border stand off in Depsang Valley in Ladakh and be able to resolve such incidents "much quicker" in the future, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said today.

"We both have reasons to express satisfaction that we were able to resolve this issue, indeed through mechanism we put in place over the years", Khurshid, who is in Beijing to hold talks with the Chinese leadership, told state-run CCTV in an interview.

He made the comment while replying to a question about the 20-day stand off between the two sides after Chinese troops pitched tents in Daulat Beig Oldi (DBO) sector in Ladakh.

"But it (the resolution) did take time and the fact that it happened at all, the two important dimensions we need to examine further. Therefore we need to do our own respective analysis as to why it happened and if such thing were to happen again, which is unlikely, we should be able to resolve them much quicker than we resolved it this time", he said.

Reuters

Salman Khurshid during a conference in China. Reuters

On the importance of forthcoming visit of new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India, making it the first stop of his maiden foreign tour, Khurshid said, "Clearly if China thinks that their Premier should make the first stop in India, understandably we feel the same way that China should have the highest billing".

"Not only are we neighbours we are two very important countries whose convergence in terms of perceptions, positions and attitudes can make a world of difference globally and most certainly in Asia", he said.

"Both in historical terms and in terms of potential that there is for collaboration between us, we cannot think of more important country at this point of time and we are pleased that this is recognised mutually", he said.

Yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during his meeting with Khurshid, discussed Li's visit to India from 19-21 May.

Li's visit was expected to be followed by the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later this year. The proposed back to back visits by Prime Ministers of both China and India signalled big opportunities for both the countries to scale up relations, Wang said.

China is willing to make concerted efforts with India, seize the opportunity and promote the strategic cooperative partnership to a new level, he said.

The two countries should take the opportunity of the exchange of high-level visits to expand cooperation in various aspects, Khurshid said.

On the decline of India's trade with China last year to about $66 billion from over $74 billion in 2011, Khurshid said besides the decline, India's main concern is the growing trade deficit which touched $28.87 billion last year.

In the first quarter this year itself the deficit climbed to $6.31 billion. Decline of trade reflects the world conditions, he said, adding that, "both countries should be lucky to be an exception to that".

"The fundamentals are strong and both sides are comfortable with fundamentals. More than the over all trade figure, what continues to concern us is the imbalance of trade. Both sides are trying to address that. We still have not found effective remedy quickly", he said.

Last night Khurshid told the Indian media here that China wants to address the trade imbalance by stepping up its investments in India in a big way in the specialised industrial zones and wants India to facilitate such investments by providing proper facilities.

PTI