Beijing: As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began his China visit on Tuesday, there are huge expectations that the two countries would move closer towards resolving contentious issues. Some key pacts including the ones on stapled visas being granted by China for Arunachal Pradesh residents and on preventing incursions along the Line of Actual Control are likely to be inked. Sources in the government say that it will also be conveyed to China that Arunachal cannot be treated differently from the rest of India.
Singh who landed in Beijing on Tuesday for his three-day visit asserted that the commitment of the Indian and Chinese leadership to maintain peace on the frontiers is an important guarantor for progress. "This is not an easy issue and will take time to resolve," Manmohan Singh said.
The two countries are expected to sign the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to prevent Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) during Singh's visit. "Boundary question between India and China is complex and sensitive. We have established the Special Representatives (SRs) mechanism to find a political solution to the boundary question," he added.
Singh also said that he supported the work done so far to resolve the boundary issues. "In the present stage of their negotiations, they are seeking a framework for a boundary resolution. I support the work done by the Special Representatives of the two sides," he said.
The Prime Minister, who arrived in Beijing to a warm reception, will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday after which the BDCA is expected to be signed. This assumes significance in the context of the Depsang valley episode in Ladakh earlier in 2013 when People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops made an intrusion and stayed put for three weeks.
India's liberalised visa agreement with China, which was to be signed during this visit was struck off by as a mark of protest against China issuing stapled visas to two Indian archers from Arunachal Pradesh.
India has maintained that Arunachal is an integral part of India so there is no question of stapled visas. This is also a reason why the Union Cabinet deferred taking a decision on easing visa norms between the two neighbours. India's response to the visa issue is expected to depend on the response from the Chinese authorities.
The growing alarm with which India is watching the strategic proximity between China and Pakistan is also expected to be a key issue that might be tabled for discussion during the talks on Wednesday.
Along with Li, Singh will address business leaders attending the second India-China CEOs Forum being held on the sidelines of the Indian Prime Minister's visit. Ten top Indian industrialists led by Reliance Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group chief Anil Ambani and prominent Chinese industrialists are taking part in the CEOs' meeting. On October 24, Singh will address future leaders at the central school of the Communist Party of China before his departure.
Singh's visit is counted as historic as this is the first time since 1954 that the prime ministers of the two countries would travel to each other's country in the same year.