Indian PM calls for closer ties with China
Updated: 2006-01-02 10:02
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he wanted to forge closer ties
with China and urged Beijing to inject "substance" into the growing bilateral
Minister John Howard (L) and Indian Premier Manmohan Singh. Singh has said
he wanted to forge closer ties with China and urged Beijing to inject
'substance' into the growing bilateral relationship.
In a New Year's Day message to Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao, Singh said the two populous Asian neighbours must make 2006
the year of India-China friendship, in line with a pledge made last year.
"We are confident that in the new year, we will be able to continue, with
greater determination, to impart further depth and substance to our rapidly
growing ties, and add an important new chapter to India-China friendship," Singh
"Our fast-developing relationship today transcends the bilateral dimension
and is an important determinant for the peace and security as well as
development and prosperity, of Asia and the world", Singh said.
"It is also important that we continue adding greater substance to our
bilateral exchanges and international cooperation," the Indian prime minister
said in his message to Wen, who visited India in April last year.
Singh also said both India and China have made progress in negotiations over
thorny issues such as a border dispute which resulted in a brief but a bloody
war in 1962.
"India and China have made significant progress in addressing some of the
long-standing issues in our relationship without allowing them to define the
agenda of our cooperative ties," Singh added.
A formal ceasefire line has yet to be established following the war but the
unsettled border has remained largely peaceful following agreements signed in
1993 and 1996.
Bilateral ties have been warming in recent years with an exchange of
high-level visits and joint military exercises. Trade reached 13.6 billion
dollars in 2004 and is targeted to hit 30 billion dollars by 2010.
Indian foreign ministry officials, meanwhile, said Wen replied to Singh's New
Year's greeting on an equally-positive note.
"China is ready to work with India... to continuously deepen the contents of
our bilateral relations and push forward the China-India strategic and
partnership in an all-round and in-depth way," Wen said in his message Sunday.
Some analysts, however, have voiced doubts about whether a durable
partnership between the two neighbours who have a history of suspicion and
hostility can work.