The Indian and Chinese premiers yesterday pledged to resolve a border dispute that has soured ties for decades, saying good relations between the two Asian giants were key to world peace.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), making his first foreign visit since taking office, said Beijing was determined to build up trust with New Delhi as he and a team of ministers signed a series of joint agreements with India.
His host, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also stressed he regarded a good bilateral relationship as crucial to the wider region’s development.
Li’s visit comes after a flare-up last month in a long-running border dispute between the two countries in a remote Himalayan region.
Singh said there was now a mutual desire to resolve the dispute and that a joint working group would be established to reach a lasting agreement.
“We agreed that our special representatives will meet soon to continue discussions seeking an early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement,” Singh said at a joint news conference in New Delhi after talks with Li.
Li said the border dispute was a historical hangover and there was a desire on both sides to overcome it.
“We have established the principles for settling the question,” Li said. “Both sides believe we need to improve the border mechanisms that have been put into place and make them more efficient ... and appropriately resolve our differences. The two sides should continue to advance the negotiations on the boundary question and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border area.”
Speaking earlier, Li had said that good relations between India and China would “be a true blessing for Asia and the world.”
“World peace ... cannot be a reality without strategic trust between India and China,” he added.
The comments followed signing ceremonies on a series of issues ranging from agriculture, to tourism and trade. There was also an agreement to resolve a dispute over a Chinese plan to build three more hydropower dams across the cross-border Brahmaputra River, known in Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo.
Several major roads in the Indian capital were closed to prevent Tibetan protesters from disrupting Li’s visit and exile groups complained of heavy-handed policing.
Police detained three Tibetan protesters near the hotel where Lo was staying, a photographer said.