Wen, Singh vow to strengthen ties
Updated: 2011-11-19 08:00
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao shakes hand with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh at the East Aisa Summit held on the island of Bali, Nov 18, 2011.
BALI / BEIJING - Chinese and Indian prime ministers vowed on Friday to "eliminate disturbance" and improve bilateral ties, which both sides said they greatly cherish despite recent disputes.
"China would like to make efforts with India to eliminate disturbance and stick to the path of friendship, mutual trust and cooperation," Premier Wen Jiabao told his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the eve of the East Asia Summit on the resort island of Bali.
The meeting between the two leaders came a few weeks after Beijing and New Delhi quarreled over India's overseas oil exploration in the South China Sea.
Despite differences, Singh told Wen that India was committed to developing the "best of relations" with China.
"We are neighbors and also large, growing economies of Asia. We should cooperate bilaterally and globally," Singh said. "There are enough areas where India and China can enhance cooperation."
Singh, noting that the two leaders had been meeting on the sidelines of each of the ASEAN summits held during the last six years, told Wen that he had "benefited enormously" from his conversations with the Chinese leader on each occasion.
"No force in the world can stop the growth of relations between China and India," said the Indian prime minister, according to a news release from the Foreign Ministry.
The two premiers also agreed in the 55-minute meeting to work toward resolving border issues and maintaining peace and stability along the border.
In recent years, India has entered a deal with Vietnam under which Indian companies carry out oil exploration and develop oil wells in the South China Sea, an area which China has indisputable sovereignty.
China's consistent position is that it opposes any country engaging in oil and gas exploration and development activities in waters under Chinese jurisdiction.
According to the Economic Times, Singh said that "the issue of sovereignty should be resolved according to international law and practice".
It quoted Sanjay Singh, secretary on Eastern Affairs of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, as saying the Indian prime minister argued that Indian explorations of oil and gas deposits were purely commercial.
According to an article published by Xinhua News Agency, China has always cherished its bilateral ties with India. However, China's goodwill can by no means be interpreted as a desperate outreach to endear India and other neighbors at any cost.
In a report by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Namrata Goswami, a research fellow at the Indian think tank, wrote, "India should continue to negotiate with China on the border dispute within the framework agreement signed between the two countries on April 11, 2005.
"The establishment of a border management institutional mechanism toward the end of this year will be beneficial in resolving difficult issues pertaining to the disputed border in a structured way, thereby creating institutional memory for future reference," Goswami said.
"The India-China territorial dispute in the eastern sector, pending resolution for decades together, is not an intractable issue. It can be resolved."
He added that "the best way forward to resolve the issue with China is through a mechanism of dialogue and confidence-building".