Premier Li arrives on Sunday,PM likely to seek early resumption of border talks

I think two PMs would talk about Ladakh since it has been recent occurrence: Bambawale

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: May 18, 2013 10:57 pm

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will convey Delhi’s concerns over the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh to Premier Li Keqiang who is reaching New Delhi on Sunday for a three-day visit to India. Official sources said Singh will press for an early meeting of the special representatives,possibly by July,for boundary talks.

On the trans-border rivers,India will press for “enhancing the mandate” of the existing arrangement that allows sharing of flood time hydrological information,expanding that to cover some of Delhi’s concerns,or look at a “separate mechanism” that would address these concerns,the sources said.

India is also ready with agreements on micro irrigation and waste water management,and the translation of classic and contemporary works. These are also expected to be signed during Li’s visit. The joint statement is expected to reiterate the commitment for a India-China CEOs forum,and propose an MoU on sister cities and sister provinces in the two countries. An MoU on visa simplification and liberalisation is also on the cards,although it is unlikely to be signed during this visit.

Asked whether the incursion in Ladakh would also figure in the talks,Gautam Bambawale,Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs,said: “Everything is on the table when two Prime Ministers of any two countries meet,and definitely that is true even of the Prime Ministers of India and China. Having said that,I think the two Prime Ministers would talk about this subject since it has been a recent occurrence. But I do not want to try to predict what is going to happen. I will see what comes out of their meeting.”

Soon after he arrives,Li will hold restricted talks with Singh who will also host a dinner which will be attended by among others,members of major political parties,including BJP and SP.

Stressing that India thinks “very highly” of Li’s gesture of making the country his first overseas stop after assuming charge,MEA’s official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said such high-level exchanges are aimed at enhancing trust and understanding and “exhibit sensitivity” to each other’s concerns.

On Monday,the two leaders,accompanied by high-level delegations,will hold comprehensive talks on key international,regional and bilateral issues. Li will also visit Rajghat,attend a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan and meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The two sides are also expected to discuss Chinese investment. Last week,External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid mentioned “a Chinese industrial park in India” for which Delhi has said representatives of the Chinese commerce ministry can visit India soon.

Another long-term project likely to be discussed is the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor,something that India agrees with in principle,as part of its “Look East” Policy and connectivity with ASEAN.

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