Manmohan-Xi meeting hoped to give new direction to relations

Durban, March 25 (IANS) The Indian delegation at the 5th BRICS Summit is keenly awaiting the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with new Chinese President Xi Jinping, hoping for a new direction to Sino-India ties.

Keeping with the protocol, Manmohan Singh will be calling on Xi Wednesday evening on the margins of the Summit, which will be the first since the Chinese President took over the reins of the Asian neighbour.
“I look forwards to meeting the Chinese President Xi Jinping,” the prime minister remarked, ahead of his departure for this South African city early Monday. The two leaders have already spoken over the phone.
“It will be an opportunity for me to not only greet the new Chinese president personally, but also discuss how we can maintain the positive trajectory of our relationship and further strengthen this very important bilateral relationship.”
Asked if there was any thing specific on the agenda when the Indian and Chinese leadership meets Wednesday, officials said it was not possible to pre-judge what each of them was going to say.
“You don’t expect leaders to negotiate. You expect them to show us what to do. Then, the rest of us go we and do the hard work,” a senior Indian interlocutor said.
He, nevertheless, said ties with China had, indeed, improved in the past few years, since both sides agreed to move forward despite difficulties and problems which primarily pertained to geography and history.
“There is a realisation now that we can build on our relations,” said the official, adding, as an example, that that while maritime rivalry between India and China was inevitable, defence exchanges were progressing well.
(Arvind Padmanabhan can be contacted at [email protected])