China needs to come to table on border dispute: V K Singh

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Gandhinagar, Sep 12: China needs to come to the discussion table to resolve the long-standing border dispute on Arunachal Pradesh, Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V K Singh said on Friday.

"We are having a border dispute with China about Arunachal Pradesh. It doesn't become their (China's) region by merely putting claim on it (AP). To solve the issue, they (China) need to come to the discussion table. India and China may discuss this issue in the upcoming meeting (between Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ahmedabad on September 17), Singh told reporters here. However, he claimed ignorance about whether India will discuss the border dispute in the meeting.

"I have absolutely no idea about whether it is in the agenda of the meeting (or not)," Singh said. The two nations have differing perceptions of the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control.

Recently, China had released a new map showing Arunachal Pradesh as a part of it stirring a new controversy. The minister was here for a seminar on 'India's foreign relations - South East Asia and Indian Ocean', organised at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU).

To a query on who according to him is India's friend and who is the enemy (between China and Pakistan), Singh said, "both China and Pakistan are our neighbours and it is upon us on how we bring that relationship ahead."

Welcoming the visit of the Chinese president, he said, "this is a very good initiative by our government. Earlier, their foreign minister visited India and now the president is coming here.

However, the out come of this meeting will be known only after it gets over." Earlier, during his speech, Singh gave a overview on India's 'Look East' policy and stressed on the need to develop co-operation with South Eastern countries for better economic growth. 

"Time has come to think about what we can gain from these Asian Tigers, as we already have a cultural and religious bond with them, such as Buddhism. As part of our foreign policy, we must provide them security to win their trust and co-operation," he said.

Singh was referring to the protection given by Indian Coast Guard against pirates to all the ships passing from the Indian Ocean.

He also gave details about several infrastructural projects to connect India, particularly north eastern region, with these countries, including Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.

"We have been planning a 'Tri-Lateral Highway project' till Thailand from Imphal in Manipur. Now, India needs to push that project. I think that project will be completed in next 3-4 years. One of future projects also include a railway line till Myanmar via Bangladesh," Singh said in his speech.

The minister was accompanied by GNLU Director Bimal N Patel and president of Forum for Integrated National Security Lt Gen (Retd) Dr D B Shekatkar among others.

PTI

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