India assures China safe passage for Olympic Torch

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New Delhi, Apr 3 (UNI) India has assured China of all necessary steps for a ''smooth'' and ''successful'' passage of the Olympic Torch and asserted that it would not allow anti-China activities on its soil.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi yesterday, reiterated New Delhi's position that the Tibet Autonomous Region was part of the territory of the People's Republic of China.

Mr Yang said Beijing appreciated the steps taken by New Delhi to ensure the safety and security of Chinese diplomatic and consular establishments and its citizens in India.

The observation by the Chinese Foreign Minister comes barely days after India's High Commissioner in Beijing Nirupama Rao was summoned by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the dead of night to convey displeasure over the storming of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi by Tibetan protestors.

The External Affairs Ministry said in a statement today that Mr Mukherjee recalled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's landmark visit to China in January and said he looked forward to working together with the Chinese Foreign Minister to implement the main elements of the document on the Shared Vision between the two countries signed by the two Prime Ministers.

The Chinese Foreign Minister said bilateral relations were enjoying good momentum.

The Prime Minister's visit to China had been very successful, Mr Yang said, adding that he would work with the External Affairs Minister to further substantiate bilateral relationship.

Mr Yang briefed the External Affairs Minister on the situation in Tibet and expressed confidence that the passage of the Olympic Torch through India would take place smoothly.

''The External Affairs Minister conveyed that the Government of India will take necessary measures to ensure that the passage of the Olympic Torch is a success,'' the statement said.

The External Affairs Minister told Mr Yang that the Dalai Lama was a religious and spiritual leader and the Government of India ''does not allow'' Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities on its soil.

UNI RB RR KN1546

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