New Delhi: Ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said the relationship with China will grow stronger as Beijing shows more sensitivity on core issues related to India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We believe the India-China relationship will grow even stronger as China shows more sensitivity on core issues that impinge on our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope this can be realised,” Rao said at a seminar on Sino-India relations organised by Observer Research Foundation in the Capital on Friday.
The Chinese Premier’s visit is scheduled on December 16-17.
The Foreign Secretary commented on the China-Pakistan relationship. “India firmly believes a stable and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest, and we are not against Pakistan’s relations with other countries.”
“While I agree that relationships between countries are not zero-sum games, we do not hesitate to stress our genuine concerns regarding some aspects of the China-Pakistan relationship, particularly when it comes to China’s role in PoK, China’s J&K policy and the Sino-Pak security and nuclear relationship,” she said.
“The need for mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns cannot be denied. The issue of giving stapled visas to Indian nationals from J&K arises in a similar context,” Rao said.
This is one of the most frank statements made by any Indian official in the recent months on China-Pakistan ties.
Rao raised another issue of concern — management of trans-border rivers.
“Many of the rivers nourishing the plains of Northern India and also areas in North-east India arise in the highlands of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and are a source of livelihood for millions of our people. We are alert to reports of China damming trans-border rivers and have sought assurances that it will take no action to negatively affect the flow of the rivers into India...”
Rai said China had assured India that the projects on the Brahmaputra are not meant for storing or diverting water.
She said the two countries were putting in place more confidence-building measures to tackle the boundary issue, for which India was making a serious attempt to try to arrive at a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution”.
Speaking on India-China cooperation on various fora, Rao said, “We hope such cooperation can be strengthened on the important issue of UN reforms”, including on India’s quest for a permanent membership of the UN Security Council.