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'Sino-India relations are on right track'

Source: PTI
November 22, 2006 18:00 IST
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Viewing positively the outcome of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit, Brajesh Mishra, former National Security Advisor, on Wednesday said Sino-India relations were on the "right track".

"The relationship is on a right track and normalisation is going on," Mishra, who was intensively engaged in talks with Chinese Special Representative Dai Bingguo on the boundary question, told PTI.

Mishra, who was closely assisting the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on a range of foreign policy issues, termed the outcome of the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Hu as a "positive development".

Sharing a similar view, former diplomats said the decision not to allow the boundary row affect the fast-improving ties was "pragmatic" and "mature".

They, however, felt the "slow progress" in resolving the issue still remain a source of concern.

Former ambassador to the US Naresh Chandra said China's support was important to India getting an endorsement of the Indo-US nuclear deal from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group.

"A softened up China can help us at the NSG. We need China's help, if not active but passive, to turn the NSG decision in our favour," he said.

Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary, said the decision to promote cooperation in the field civil nuclear energy was a "good signal" as India needs China's support in the NSG.

Though the Dr Singh-Hu talks did not resolve "hard issues", the general mood of the meeting and the visit indicated that both the sides were "serious" in making progress in their ties and not get bogged down by the baggage of history, Mansingh said.

"It was basically a goodwill visit. Though tough issues like establishing a free-trade pact and the border dispute were high on the agenda, nothing was resolved and it was not expected to be, given the history of our relationship," he said.

He, however, was quick to add that there should be "faster progress" in resolving the boundary dispute, which is "moving at its own pace now" since the landmark visit by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in 1988.

Chandra and former high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy felt that China's increasing military ties with Pakistan and its age-old "negative theory" of containing its adversaries in the region continues to be a point of concern.

"I don't think China is going to change its policies vis-a-vis Pakistan. Its military supplies to Pakistan still remain a matter of concern for India," Parthasarathy said.

Chandra contended that India should make China move away from the negative line that it has been following since the 1950s.

"Whenever there is an opportunity, we should advance freely without getting bogged down by the boundary question," he added.

"China has been following the outworn theory of choking its adversary from the four sides. They should realise that India is also getting stronger economically and in an era of globalisation, this old theory stands discredited," he said.

"We must come to terms with China. We must not treat is as an adversary and we should do business with China," Mansingh said.

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