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NSG row over, India, China talk N-cooperation

IANS
Sep 25, 2008 at 12:51am IST

New York: Putting behind them the mistrust sparked by China's perceived negative role in the NSG, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday and agreed to push cooperation in civilian nuclear energy between the countries.

"They had a very warm and friendly meeting. The two countries have cooperated in the past and we propose to do so in the future too," Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters.

"China joined consensus in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). That issue is behind us," Menon said after the first meeting between Manmohan Singh and Wen after the September 6 Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) waiver to India to resume global civilian nuclear commerce.

BOOK DIPLOMACY: The book set a positive tone for the first meeting between the two leaders

In the past, China had supplied fuel for the Tarapur nuclear plant. Post the NSG waiver, the two countries now want to firm up their strategic partnership and cooperate on a range of global issues, including multilateral trade negotiations and climate change, Menon said.

India conveyed its disappointment to China over its perceived negative role in trying to block the consensus in the September 4 to Spetmeber 6 NSG meeting in Vienna when Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited New Delhi last month. Yang had, however, repudiated Indian assessment and insisted vigorously that Beijing played a "constructive and positive" role in the nuclear cartel.

The two Prime Ministers' meeting in New York on Wednesday has, however, set a positive tone for Manmohan Singh's visit to Beijing next month to attend the ASEM conclave of Asian and European leaders.

This was the seventh meeting in the last four-and-a-half years between the two leaders who share a personal rapport, Menon said.

They also discussed "similar approaches" to major global issues and shared their experience in inclusive development and inclusive globalization. Describing the decades-old border dispute as "a complicated issue", the two leaders "expressed satisfaction" at the progress so far in their negotiations on the boundary dispute.

They encouraged their Special Representatives - the chief pointsperson for boundary negotiationsb - to continue the talks, Menon said.

India and China concluded their 12th round of boundary talks last week without a breakthrough due to the gap between their versions of the agreed framework for the settlement of the boundary question.

The two sides also expressed optimism about achieving $60 billion trade much before the 2010 deadline.

Manmohan, Wen talk aam admi

In a warm gesture of friendship, Wen Jiabao presented Manmohan Singh with a signed book containing the speeches by the two leaders on inclusive globalisation and development.

The Chinese premier, who enjoys a personal rapport with Manmohan Singh, also shared China's experience in inclusive development.

They signed their respective copy and exchanged it, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters after the meeting between the two leaders at New York Palace Hotel.

The book, published by Cambridge University Press, contains the speech delivered by Manmohan Singh on inclusive globalisation at the Cambridge University a couple of years ago and Wen's recent speech at Singapore University on inclusive development.

They also discussed "similar approaches" to major global issues and shared their experience in inclusive development and inclusive globalization. Both India and China, rising economic powers, are facing the growing spectre of economic inequality and are trying to put the aam admi (common man) at the centre of their development process.

The book diplomacy set a positive tone for the first meeting between the two leaders after the NSG waiver in Vienna last month. China's perceived role in the NSG had threatened to strain bilateral ties, but India has since then sought to put behind it this issue in the interests of better relations.

This was the seventh meeting in the last four-and-a-half years between the two leaders who share a personal rapport.

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