Manmohan Singh optimistic about border cooperation pact signed with China

Onboard Air India One, Oct. 24 (ANI): On his way back home after talks with the Chinese leadership in Beijing, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on Thursday said he was optimistic about border defence cooperation pact signed between both countries, and that the leadership in Beijing also put the maintenance of peace along the border on a high priority.

"There is a commitment on the part of both China and India that peace and tranquility on the border is a pre-requisite for progress in our relationship. So, there is this recognition and on the whole there has been peace and tranquility on the India-China border. So, I am reasonably satisfied that the Chinese leadership is as serious as we are in ensuring peace and tranquility on the India-China border," Dr. Singh said aboard Air India One.

"While we have our differences, there are many areas, bilateral, regional and multilateral, where cooperation among us is to our mutual benefit. It is only through a process of intense engagement that we will be able to move forward in all areas. I am satisfied that my just concluded visit has served its purpose," he added.

Dr. Singh expressed that he was 'emphatic' about the tran-border river agreement, and said that the pact was a result of earlier discussions that he had with the Chinese leadership.

"Because I represent the North-East, I have been emphatic that cooperation between China and India in matters relating to the trans-border river system should proceed forward. I have been discussing this earlier also with the Chinese leadership. I raised this issue again and there is incremental progress," Dr. Singh said.

"They have agreed to supply data for more number of days. Also they have recognized that the behaviour of the trans-border river system is of interest to all riparian states. So, our concerns have been put on the table. I hope there will be progress in years to come," he added.

Dr. Singh said his visit to China was to follow up on the process of getting to know the new Chinese leadership better. He said that China was not only India's largest neighbour, but also a significant economic partner and a country with increasing global presence.

Reiterating that he was satisfied with the results achieved in his bilateral visit to China, Dr. Singh admitted that the Indian leadership aspired to find a workable mechanism to further liberalize it visa regime in the near future.

On October 23, during the Prime Minister's three day visit to Beijing, India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement to ease tensions on their contested border which has seen a series of stand offs in the recent past.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang led their respective sides as the two countries held delegation level talks in Beijing to iron out differences and improve ties.

Under the new border agreement, the two nuclear-armed sides will give notice of patrols along the undefined border. They will also ensure that patrols do not "tail" each other to reduce the chance of confrontation between the two sides.

Amongst other agreements, a landmark Memorandum of Understanding between India's Ministry of Water Resources an the Ministry of Water Resources of China was also signed to strengthen cooperation on trans-border rivers, after Prime Ministerial level talks in Beijing. (ANI)

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