PM's visit to China a ''historic step forward'' : Congress

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (UNI) The Congress today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China was a "historic step foward" and continuation of the historic initiatives taken by Rajiv Gandhi and recently by party president Sonia Gandhi.

AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi denied reports that Dr Singh's visit to China was to remove its apprehension about the increasing engagement of India with the United States, especially in the context of the Indo-US Nuclear deal.

"India's relationship with a particular country is based on historic and contemporary relations," he said, while pointing out that "Indo-China relationship is not conditioned by relationship with other countries." Dr Singhvi said India always maintained a separate and autonomous links with different countries.

He said the visit of Dr Singh to China entailed a huge benefit to both the countries. "It will result in deeper engagement." "The ambience of candid exchanges and detailed discussion on diverse range of issues and tremendous respect and status given to the Indian delegation are all indicative of significant movement in the right direction." "We welcome the visit because this is the consistent outlook in the ''Look East Policy of India ''which the Congress supports. The policy seeks to herald an era of exchanges and peace not only with immediate neighbours but also with wider neighbourhood of Asia." Dr Singhvi said significant Confidence Building measures were part of the continuing process. They would continue to lead Indo-China relationship on the right path.

UNI SH MIR RN1905

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