While Chinese premier Li Keqiang on Monday batted vigorously for enhancing trust between the two neighbours, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed that any expansion in relations should be based on “peace and tranquility” along the long-disputed border between the two Asian giants.
Cornered by mounting internal troubles, Singh took a rather strong line with the visiting dignitary — there should be no repetition such as the recent incursion by Chinese troops at Depsang valley in J&K.
Both of them presented a perfect photo op. An ebullient Li, and his usually reticent host Singh, seemed to have bonded well. Officials said both developed a “personal chemistry” after two days of talks, which culminated at the formal delegation-level talks at the Hyderabad House.
If Li’s debut on the international stage started with India as his first stop after taking over as the Chinese premier in March last, India pulled out all stops to make his visit hassle free. The area around Hyderabad House adjacent to India Gate was turned into a fortress to ward off potential Tibetan protestors.
“The most important outcome of these discussions is that the leaders of the two countries have reached strategic consensus and deepened our strategic trust,” Li said in his statement to the media after the talks and the signing of eight bilateral pacts.
The overarching theme of Li’s public remarks was that both sides needed to build mutual trust.
Stating that good Sino-Indian ties would be a “true blessing for Asia and the world”, Li added that global peace “cannot be a reality without strategic trust between India and China”.
While Manmohan also dished out similar platitudes, he significantly asserted, “The basis for continued growth and expansion of our ties is peace and tranquility on our borders.” “While seeking an early resolution to the boundary question, Premier Li and I agreed that this must continue to be preserved,” he added.
Referring to the recent three-week-long camping trip by Chinese soldiers deep in Indian territory, Singh said that the two leaders “took stock of lessons learnt from the recent incident in the Western Sector, when existing mechanisms proved their worth.”