Satisfied China serious about border peace: PM

    By Ranjana Narayan, IANS,

    On Board Air India One : A day after inking a key border pact with China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said he was “satisfied” that the Chinese leadership was “serious” about restoring peace and tranquillity on their disputed border.

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    Answering questions from media persons on board his special jet while on way back from his visit to Russia and China, the prime minister also said he is satisfied with his visits to both countries and the back-to-back tour had “served their purpose”.

    He said there is commitment between India and China that “peace and tranquility on the border is a prerequisite for progress in relations” and “on the whole there has been peace and tranquility” on their 4,000-km border.

    “I am reasonably satisfied that the Chinese leadership is as serious as we are in ensuring peace and tranquility on the border,” he said.

    To a question on granting China a liberal visa regime, which got bogged down after Beijing’s issuance of stapled visas to two sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh, the prime minister said he hoped that both can “find a workable mechanism to realise that goal”.

    According to a source, the Indian cabinet had been poised to approve an agreement for a liberal visa regime for China for its businesspersons ahead of the prime minister’s Oct 20-24 visit, but decided to go slow on the process after the stapled visa issue came up.

    The prime minister termed the India-China agreement on transborder rivers as “an incremental progress”.

    “They have agreed to supply data for more number of days. Also they have recognised that the behaviour of the trans-border river system is of interest to all riparian states. So, our concerns have been put on the table. I hope there will be progress in years to come.”

    To a question on the concerns voiced by both countries on terrorism and radicalism emanating from the region, the prime minister said he found “growing recognition” among both Russia and China that “terrorism is a threat to all the countries of the region and that terrorism and extremism are both enemies of progress, that we must work together, pool our intelligence and information system to deal with the menace”.