New Delhi: In a firm message to China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday night voiced India's serious concern over the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh and told his counterpart Li Keqiang that in the absence of peace and tranquility along the border, bilateral ties will suffer as the two leaders held hour-long cordial but candid talks. 57-year-old Li, on his first foreign trip since becoming Prime Minister two months ago, met Singh at his official residence along with select number of aides from both sides when they exchanged views on the contentious boundary dispute, trans-border rivers and trade deficit.
Given that the meeting took place about a month after a 19 km deep incursion by the Chinese troops in Depsang valley in Ladakh which was resolved only two weeks ago, the focus was on the stand-off there and Singh conveyed India's serious concerns over the breach of status quo by China. He emphasised that maintaining peace and tranquility along the Line of actual Control was essential for good bilateral ties, a point with which Li agreed. The restricted talks were followed by a dinner which was attended by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, BJP leader Arun Jaitley, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat.
Singh also raised "upfront" other issues of priority interest, including concerns on water flows of trans border rivers, especially in view of construction of three additional dams approved by China on Brahmaputra river. India has been pressing China to have either a water commission or an inter-governmental dialogue to deal with water issues as under the current Expert Level Mechanism (ELM), the two countries only share hydrological information. "The Prime Minister articulated views in constructive but firm manner," sources said, adding that stage is now set for the longer format of talks on Monday.