Beijing: India and China should show “maturity” in managing their differences, including the vexed boundary dispute, and avoid viewing each other as competitors, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna said on Tuesday, arguing that strong Sino-India ties would have global consequences.
Presenting an upbeat picture of Sino-Indian ties, which saw a bitter war of words over Arunachal Pradesh last year, Krishna said the bilateral issues are “under total control” and the two countries have evolved a mechanism to find a solution to issues like boundary demarcation.
Advocating a patient approach to resolve the longstanding boundary dispute, Krishna said “the true test of our maturity” lies in the way they manage their problems.
“We have to accept that there will be outstanding issues between the two countries even as our relationship forges ahead. This is in the very nature of global politics and we should not get discouraged as a result,” he said in his address at a prominent think-tank here.
He said as rising powers, India and China are often projected to have a “competitive relationship” but it depends on the two neighbours to craft out their own course.
“In the final analysis, we all are what we want to be. It is upto us to disprove such scenarios, not through platitudes and wishful thinking, but by concrete examples of cooperation,” he said.
On his maiden visit to China, Krishna said the effective cooperation forged by the two countries on climate negotiations in Copenhagen should be extended to other global issues, including fighting terrorism.
“A strong and stable relationship between India and China has consequences for the entire world. Because we are different, our divergences are often exaggerated. If truth be told, there are vested interests at work too.
“India and China must not just cooperate; they must be seen to be doing so by the rest of the world,” he said pointing out that their cooperation at Copenhagen had decisively sent out a message to the world that “here are two developing economies who are coming together for the purpose of making the world a better place”.
“India and China have only begun to impact seriously on the world. Just as we advanced de-colonisation and independence movements in the fifties, today we are striving to rewrite the rules of the world a little more in our favour,” he said.
In his speech, Krishna said the bilateral cooperation forged by the two countries specially on climate change negotiations should be extended to the issue “concerning the instability in our neighbourhood” and to face the challenges in the “immediate periphery” of the two countries.
Krishna said for both India and China stability at home stands in sharp contrast to extreme instability in “our shared neighbourhood” and they cannot afford to remain “passive spectators”.
Without directly referring to Pakistan, Krishna said: “As pluralistic societies, we are threatened by political ideologies that are based on narrow loyalties, often justified by distorting religious beliefs”.
Krishna said states that use narrow ideologies “as instruments to advance their political interests find themselves consumed by these very destructive ideas... It is critical for our future that we cooperate actively in meeting common challenges”.
He said Sino-India ties were never a zero sum game and it was all the more important now to take an “enlightened and long term view of our self-interests”.
Contending that as developing countries, China and India found their interests converging on several global issues and in creating a more contemporary order, he said: “the two countries can advance their respective interests much better through active cooperation”.
On the boundary issue, he said the special representatives of the two countries have had 13 meetings so far since the mechanism was established in 2003.
“It is going to be a time consuming affair and one has to be patient to deal with it. The special representatives are aware of their responsibilities and we hope a mutually acceptable solution can be arrived at,” he said.
“Even on an issue like the unresolved boundary question that is often the subject of media speculation, it is always not appreciated that considerable progress has actually been made,” he said.
The issue of special visas on a separate piece of paper to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and of projects undertaken by China in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), would figure in talks with Chinese leaders, he said replying to a question.
He also said the Indian military was not competing with China in modernising its armed forces, and the Indian army just has the “right size” to defend the territory.
“We do not believe in competition with any other country so far our armed forces are concerned... That is what we need and will pursue that,” he said replying to a question.
Krishna, who kick started his four-day visit to China today, sought China’s backing for a permanent UNSC seat for India, calling on Beijing to “review” its policies on UN reform to “welcome” its neighbour to the core group of the world body.
Ahead of his talks with the Chinese leadership, Krishna also sought China’s support for the convention against terrorism proposed by India at the UN, and said all nations should join hands to thwart the evil designs of terrorists.