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Wen in India

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The diplomatic positioning before Wen Jiabao’s visit to India has commenced. IE explains:

Days ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India, China on Monday defined its relations with New Delhi as very fragile and which needed special care, while Indian officials said the two sides were working towards enhancing mutual convergences.

Addressing a conference on India-China relations organised by FICCI on Monday, China’s Ambassador to India Zhang Yan said: “China-India relations are very fragile and very easy to be damaged and very difficult to repair. Therefore, they need special care in the information age.”

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vishnu Prakash, while briefing the media on Wen Jiabao’s visit, said: “The bilateral relations have evolved, grown and matured…and there are enough mechanisms to address concerns. The high-level contacts (between the two countries) are working towards enhancing mutual convergences.”

HT reports:

Ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to New Delhi this week, Beijing made a rare direct reference to the sensitive dispute of stapled visas. “We do not exclude the possibility of discussion on any issue,’’ assistant foreign minister Hu Zhengyue told the media in Beijing. He referred to the visit as a ‘big event’ in bilateral ties.

In response to a media query, Hu said that the visa issue would be discussed at the ‘working-level staff’. Wen’s visit comes at the close of an uneasy year for bilateral ties marked by India’s strong objections to Chinese stapled visas for Indians from Jammu and Kashmir. In the past, the Chinese foreign ministry has evaded direct references to the issue in public and only said that its Kashmir policy stays unchanged.

Beijing’s pitch ahead of the visit was to emphasise India-China ‘friendship from generation to generation’ and distance India-China relations from US influence. Hu noted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has met Chinese President Hu Jintao and Wen 10 times this year.

Hindu reports:

Ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India this week, China said its deepening relations with India were “a natural outcome” and it would continue to strengthen the engagement regardless of the state of New Delhi’s ties with Washington.

“Our cooperation with India has nothing to do with the relations between the U.S. and India,” Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said at a briefing when asked whether China was concerned about New Delhi’s close relations with Washington.

A number of commentaries in the Chinese official media during U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to India spoke of Beijing’s anxieties about New Delhi appearing to move strategically closer to Washington. Many of China’s neighbours, from Japan and South Korea to Vietnam have, in recent months, appeared to seek closer military alliances with the U.S., amid rising territorial tensions in the South China Sea, prompting some Chinese analysts to speak of a U.S.-led “encirclement.”

Mr. Wen will arrive in New Delhi on Wednesday on a six-day visit to India and then Pakistan, bringing the biggest ever trade delegation.

And what about China’s positioning on the Pakistan visit? Reuters reports:

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s upcoming visit to Pakistan is intended to reassure Islamabad that the two countries’ energy, military and economic ties will remain tight, despite Beijing’s growing relations with New Delhi.

China and Pakistan are set to deepen their strategic relationship. China wants to use Pakistan as a gateway to the Muslim world and as a new Silk Road for China’s energy-hungry interior, as well as a balance against India’s military rise.

Pakistan, in turn, plans to further rely on China for the bulk of its weapon systems, as a major investor for its ports and roads, and as a counter-weight to American demands and conditions in the fight against Islamist militancy.

Key to the maintenance of this seemingly happy relationship is China’s treatment of Pakistan as an equal to India.

While India has lost its historical connections with the oil-producing middle east as it moves closer to the US and Israel, China is opening up new ties through Pakistan. Here is a report from Dawn:

KASHGAR: The air cargo service between Pakistan and China has been launched with the arrival of first maiden flight from Islamabad here on late Friday.

At the inaugural arrival ceremony, Sardar Aminullah Khan, Economic Minister at Embassy of Pakistan, Beijing, the Deputy Commissioner of Kashi prefecture and representatives of various related agencies including Customs, Civil Aviation, Quarantine, Immigration, port management and representatives of the Airline were present.

Speaking on the occasion, the Economic Minister highlighted the important aspects of the Pak-China relations.

“There is big potential for business for the air cargo service especially during winter season when the connectivity through land between the two countries remained suspended”, he observed.

He further pointed out that through cargo service, products of the two countries not only available easily whole the year in the markets of both sides but also in the Middle Eastern countries and Central Asian States.

Energy needs figure in China’s long-range plans, Outlook reports:

China today said cooperation in the energy sector will be a major topic of discussion during Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan this week and indicated that the “open and transparent” civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries would continue.

Besides, China and Pakistan will also sign a number of agreements in energy, infrastructure and other sectors during the three-day visit that begins Friday.

Does India have a plan?

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 14, 2010 at 3:38 am

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