Singapore, July 5: India has said it will not rush to resolve differences with China over their contested border issue and will instead move step by step, though there has been steady progress in the overall bilateral ties.
"Every step we have taken with China over the years is a positive step. I think we have constantly, if not rapidly, made progress. I feel there is no reason why we should continue to feel a sense of alarm or discomfort. But it helps to remain cautious and vigilant and careful. Because it is not a relationship that has finally overcome the difficult issues that caused us to actually come into a confrontation," The Straits Times today quoted External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid as saying in an interview.
Khurshid, who is here on a bilateral visit, said while both sides are determined to resolve the issue, "we are also very clear that it does not help to hasten resolution if you are not ready for resolution, you must take it a step at a time."
India asserts that border dispute covered about 4,000 km, while China claims that it confined to about 2,000 km to the area of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers as Southern Tibet. The two sides last week held the 16th round of border talks and decided to seek a fair and rational solution to the issue as they focused on the proposed Border Defence Cooperation Agreement to avert incursions like the one witnessed in Leh region last month.
The talks were held against the backdrop of the recent incursion of Chinese troops in Depsang Valley in Ladakh. His comments came as Defence Minister A K Antony is undertaking a four-day visit to China for high-level talks with Chinese leadership on new confidence building measures to maintain peace at the disputed borders.
Khurshid said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a very good relationship with the previous leadership in China.
"The new leadership has signalled very positively both in South Africa, where the president of China met our prime minister and when Prime Minister Li (Keqiang) came to India," he said, adding that his own meeting with Li in Beijing was extremely warm and friendly.
"I think he made a good impression during his visit to Delhi. He truly represents the new generation of leadership in China. He is an open, he is outgoing, he is comforting person. I think he is familiar with the way the diplomatic exercises are done in our times. I think he would build a very good relationship with our leadership," he added.
Khurshid suggested India's Look East policy should be extended beyond ASEAN and East-Asian powers of China, Japan and South Korea.