April 2005 News

Aksai Chin may figure in Wen's Delhi talks

10 April 2005
The Dawn
Jawed Naqvi

New Delhi: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived here from Bangalore on Sunday to hold wide-ranging talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on trade and border dispute that inevitably involves Pakistan, official sources said. Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, who played a lead role in the 1988 Sino-Indian rapprochement, received Mr Wen and his 100-strong delegation. Official sources said that the issue of Aksai Chin, a territory under Chinese control which India claims as part of Jammu and Kashmir and the Shaksgam Valley, which Pakistan ceded to China and which is claimed by New Delhi to have been discussed at Agra summit in July 2001, make Pakistan's role in the resolution of the border dispute important. Mr Wen had visited India earlier in 1994 at the head of a delegation from the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China. Over a dozen agreements are expected to be inked during the visit. They include political announcements, pacts for enhancing economic cooperation, a new cultural-exchange programme besides those in the fields of civil aviation, customs and water resources. The two sides will also sign an accord for setting up of a financial-dialogue mechanism. Before the visit, Mr Wen had suggested that India and China should handle their relations from a 'strategic high ground' and said that a solution to the boundary issue was possible if the two sides showed mutual accommodation 'while taking the reality into account'. The Hindu reported on Sunday that the Indian prime minister met his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday to discuss the visits of the Chinese premier and later on April 16 by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.


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