India, China for early resolution to border row
Modi, who held talks with his counterpart Li Keqiang, pushed for clarifying the Line of Actual Control (LAC) without “prejudice to our position on the boundary question”, saying “a shadow of uncertainty always hangs over the sensitive areas of the border region” as “neither side knows where the LAC is in these areas”.
On the second day of his three-day visit, Modi and Li discussed a wide range of issues which also covered trade imbalance, terrorism, investment, climate change and UN reforms and coordination at international level during their 90-minute talks at the Great Hall of the People.
Modi, ignoring concerns of intelligence agencies that e-visas for Chinese tourists may open the floodgates, announced that India will provide that facility.
At a joint media interaction with Li, the Indian leader asked Beijing to “reconsider its approach on some issues that hold us back”, an apparent reference to the long-pending boundary issue matters like issuance of stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh over which China lays claim.
Sources said Modi sent a clear and unambiguous message on the boundary issue, saying there was “no question of going back” and “standing still is also not an option”.
The two sides decided to increase the number of border meeting points of their military personnel from the existing four to six as they underlined that maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border was an “important guarantor” for the development and continued growth of ties.
Noting that India and China have had “complex” ties over the last few decades, Modi said the two nations have a “historic responsibility” to turn their ties into “a source of strength for each other and a force of good for the world.”
He underlined that the two countries need to be “sensitive to each other’s interests” and “think of creative solutions to issues that have become irritants -- from visa policies to trans-border rivers”. .
Modi described his talks with Li as “candid, constructive and friendly”, covering “all issues”. Li said China stands ready to work with India to jointly forge a “closer developmental partnership”.
In an address at the Tsinghua University later, Modi said, “If we have to realise the extraordinary potential of our partnership, we must also address the issues that lead to hesitation and doubts, even distrust, in our relationship”.
Noting that the bilateral agreements, protocols and border mechanisms have been helpful, he said, “I have proposed resuming the process of clarifying the LAC. We can do this without prejudice to our position” on the boundary issue.” First, Modi said, “we must try to settle the boundary question quickly. We both recognise that this is history’s legacy. Resolving it is our shared responsibility to the future. We must move ahead with new purpose and determination.” Underlining that the “solution we choose should do more than settle the boundary question”, Modi said, “It should do so in a manner that transforms our relationship and not cause new disruptions.” Modi emphasised that the border dispute should not prevent progress in India-China ties which have been “complex” in the recent decades, a sentiment shared by Li.
PM announces e-visa for Chinese tourists
Ignoring concerns of the intelligence agencies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that India will grant e-visas to Chinese tourists, making it the 77th country to get such a facility. “We have decided to extend electronic tourist visas to Chinese nationals,” Modi said addressing students and faculty at the prestigious Tsinghua University here. His announcement came barely a few hours after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said “no decision has been taken yet” on granting e-visas to Chinese tourists. When asked about extending <g data-gr-id="78">e-visa</g> facility to Chinese tourists, Jaishankar had said, “We are expanding it bit-by-bit (covering various countries). With regard to China, no decision has been taken yet.” Government sources dismissed apprehensions over the decision, saying the process of checks will be in place. They said the move was mainly aimed at removing middlemen.