Manmohan to meet Wen Jiabao Saturday


Hua Hin (Thailand) : Amid strained bilateral ties, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said he will meet with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabo on the sidelines of the India-Asean and East Asia summits here.

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Manmohan Singh said in a statement ahead of his departure from New Delhi for this Thai resort that Wen would be one of seven East Asia leaders with whom he would hold bilateral discussions.

The Indian leader did not say when the meeting would take place, but diplomats said Manmohan Singh and Wen were expected to meet in the early part of Saturday.

It would be the first meeting of leaders of the two countries since relations between India and China took a beating in the past one month over accusations and counter-accusations surrounding their unresolved border dispute.

China has publicly opposed Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a sprawling northeastern Indian state which Beijing claims as its own. It has also come out strongly against the proposed November visit to Arunachal Pradesh by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who lives in self-exile in India.

Indian officials say the Dalai Lama, whose government-in-exile is based in Dharamsala town, is free to visit any part of India, where he has lived since fleeing his homeland in 1959 after a failed revolt against Chinese Communist rule.

New Delhi has also criticized Beijing’s decision to undertake projects in Pakistani Kashmir, saying this would impact negatively on India-China relations.

India and China fought a war in 1962 and claim each other’s territory. Several rounds of talks have failed to resolve the dispute.