External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Monday he is optimistic about the future of ties with neighbour China, and despite “eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations” on the border, the good news is there have been no casualties
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Monday he is optimistic about the future of ties with neighbour China, and despite “eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations” on the border, the good news is there have been no casualties.
In an interview with The Australian, the external affairs minister said that New Delhi views Beijing as “rivals who are also partners”.
To a question, he acknowledged that being rivals is “to some extent inevitable, although it’s much more complex than that, of course”.
“But we’d like to be rivals who are also partners, partners who are also rivals,” Khurshid is quoted as saying by The Australian.
“Our prime minister has said that the world is large enough to accommodate the aspirations of both China and India,” he added.
On the border dispute, when asked why there were incursions into Indian territory by Chinese troops, Khurshid said “there are a lot of theories”.
“I can say the bottom line is that when we meet them (China’s leaders) they are very friendly and reasonably responsive to our concerns.
“I won’t say that we’ve had complete satisfaction, but there is steady movement forward.”
He said the incursions should be seen “in the context of a different perception of what the line of control is and where it should be”.
“The good news is that there hasn’t been a casualty on the Chinese front for several years,” he said. “There have been skirmishes and eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations, but no casualties.”
India and China inked a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement last month during the visit to Beijing by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The agreement is aimed to bring peace and tranquillity on the border.
Both countries had a major stand-off on the border in April-May when Chinese troops intruded inside Indian territory in Ladakh area and set up tents. The issue was resolved after many rounds of negotiations.
Khurshid and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held bilateral talks on Sunday.
According to Xhinua news agency, Wang pointed out that proper handling of the border issue between the two countries and common implementation of the newly signed Border Defense Cooperation Agreement are key for maintenance of peace and stability in the border areas between the two countries.
Wang suggested that the two sides strengthen coordination and consultation over international issues to safeguard common interests.
Khurshid said India was encouraged by the progress made in bilateral ties in the past year, adding that the country would actively maintain high level interactions with China and develop trade, establish relations of sisterhood between Indian and Chinese cities, carry out media exchanges, and strengthen friendship between the youths of the two countries.
He said, according to Xinhua, that India wishes to properly handle the border issue with China and push forward bilateral ties.