BEIJING: Terming relations between China and India as “pretty close”, a top Chinese official on Saturday said the two countries should be “more sensitive” to each other’s concerns to address their differences over key issues.
“China-India relations have been advancing pretty rapidly,” Fu Ying, spokesperson of the China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, said in a response to a question on India-China relations.
“We are pretty close and our leaders meet often and our militaries exchange visits and we have set up counter terrorism and transnational crime cooperation mechanism,” she said at a crowded press conference here ahead of NPC’s annual session starting on Monday. “On regional and international issues there is lot of common standing” between the two countries, she said.
When asked about differences over India’s admission into the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG), declaring JeM leader Masood Azhar as terrorist by the UN and India’s concerns over USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor going through PaK, she said the two sides are addressing them through dialogue. She said the recent upgraded strategic dialogue in Beijing co-chaired by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar was comprehensive in addressing the issues.
“I have read the report of India-China strategic dialogue. From what I can see it is wide ranging and goes deep and positive. I feel that when we look at the India-China relations we need to see the tree and we also see the woods,” said Fu, who was former Vice Foreign Minister. “Of course there are also some differences, some have been around for years and you mentioned some of them. I also hear China’s concerns. Between our two foreign ministries they are covered in detail and plans have been made,” she said.
“China and India are two big developing countries. In our respective development we have multiple challenges to various degrees. We need to be more sensitive to each other’s concerns so that we can better address them,” she said. “For some issues that cannot be worked for the moment, we cannot allow them to stop us from moving forward. We must proceed with whatever we can and advance good cooperation,” she said.
“For the past few years we have been talking to each other and advancing cooperation, while discussing differences. That is what we have been doing,” she said. On the CPEC, which is part of the Silk Road also called One Belt and One Road, she said it was connectivity programme aimed at development and it will benefit also India. “So we need to bear in mind the larger picture,” she said.
Fu, 63, said during her early career in the Foreign Ministry in 1990s she found that trade with India was mistakenly entered by her colleague as USD 20 billion when it was hardly USD two billion. “I thought I will never see that happen (USD 20 billion) in my life time,” she said, adding that last year the bilateral trade exceeded USD 70 billion.
There were few flights earlier. Now we have 40 flights flying back and forth, she said. Jaishankar co-chaired the upgraded strategic dialogue in Beijing on February 22 which covered almost all aspects of the bilateral ties including differences over NSG and Azhar.
On the Azhar issue, China has put third technical hold in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council on the Al-Qaeda terrorism issues. Last year Beijing blocked India’s move twice and this year again it put a six-month technical hold when US backed by France and UK moved the application for a ban on Azhar saying that the resolution lacked consensus. China yesterday expressed concern over India granting permission to the Dalai Lama to visit the Arunachal Pradesh.