‘Li will get chance to explain incursion to Manmohan’

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    New Delhi, (IANS) The recent incursion by Chinese troops cast a “pretty dark shadow” on India-China relations, but the issue was handled “maturely” by both and probably Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will “get a chance to explain why, what happened” during his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources said Saturday.

    The shadow of the 20-day boundary stand-off, caused by the April 15 incursion of Chinese troops 19 km inside Indian territory on the Line of Actual Control, has “not completely gone”, but the Chinese have “begun the effort to explain what happened”, said an informed source here Saturday.

    Li’s request to visit India had been conveyed in Durban where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had met President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in March end. The Chinese request was “accommodated” though it was the Indian prime minister’s turn to go to Beijing.

    Why then the sudden incursion?

    “Probably they wanted to test the waters, see how India reacts; could be an error of judgement,” the source said, adding that New Delhi – the defence and diplomacy – handled the matter “in a very mature way in accordance with the April 2005 agreement” between the two countries to maintain peace and tranquility in the border area.

    The Depsang area in Ladakh region is a very important region, and the incursion was a “way of signalling it is an important region for China”, the source said during an interaction at the Press Club of India premises.

    The stand-off was resolved, which was a “saviour” as it took away the clouds looming over the visit of the Chinese premier.

    But due to their “unsettled boundaries” India is likely to be “tested again and again”, the source said, adding that the latest incursion was “a serious test” and has “added to the trust deficit”.

    The April 2005 agreement clearly “spells out how certain situations are to be handled”.
    India and China have completed the first step of their boundary talks on the political parameters and guiding principles for resolution of the issue. The second step – on the framework for resolution of the issue – is in progress and it is a “very complex and complicated task”.

    India is important for China and the fact that Li is coming to India though general elections are slated in May 2014 signifies that, the source said.

    The source emphasized “the need to have a new security architecture that is open, transparent and inclusive in the Asia Pacific”.

    The source also discounted media reports that China has been “nibbling away” at Indian territory over the years, stating that Indian troops are very competent and alert at thwarting any such moves.

    He also cautioned that media should report facts as they are and not try to play up the situation, like in the case of the recent incursion.

    On India’s concerns of China building dams on the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra, he said “I don’t believe India’s fears are unfounded”. This was highlighted in the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took it up in Durban in his first meeting with Xi Jinping at BRICS.

    He added that a joint mechanism was “not enough”.