Singh, Jinabao to Meet at ASEAN Summit

In the backdrop of war of words between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on Saturday on the sidelines of the ASEAN and East Asia Summit.

The meeting is expected to lower the temperatures on two sides.

It may be mentioned that China, which regards Arunachal as a disputed territory, objected to Prime Minister’s visit to the northeastern state for electioneering, which triggered sharp reaction from India.

According to a senior Indian External Affairs ministry official, “all issues of mutual interest” will come up for discussion in the meeting.

Earlier to Arunachal Pradesh debate, New Delhi had objected sharply to China suddenly starting giving visas t the residents of Jammu and Kashmir on loose sheets, raising doubt that Beijing does not threat the state as a part of India. Beijing, on the other hand, is unhappy over India making its visa regime stringent for the expatriates, affecting Chinese workers on business visas the most.

Setting a positive tone for the talks, senior functionaries from both countries have said that the border problem can be amicably resolved through bilateral negotiations.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said in Beijing on Wednesday, “there has been good progress in our bilateral relationship and we hope this momentum can be sustained.”

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said in New Delhi, “I am quite confident that all border disputes will be resolved through discussions, amicably.”

Leaders from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia would be attending the twin meets which were twice postponed since December 2008 in the wake of anti-government protests in Thailand.

Several economies in Asia, including China, India and ASEAN have managed to keep growing even when rich nations last year slipped into the worst ever recession since the second World War.

Singh hoped that ASEAN and other countries of the East Asia Summit process would endorse the proposal for the establishment of the Nalanda University in Bihar as an international institution of excellence in education with a continental focus.

The Prime Minister said India’s participation in the India-ASEAN and the East Asia Summits was a vital element of its vision of an Asia economic community that is based on an open and inclusive regional architecture.

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