The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sinha sermon to Pakistan on China wisdom

New Delhi, Jan. 28: Foreign minister Yashwant Sinha has urged Pakistan to wake up to the Chinese model that does not allow one intractable issue to hold up movement on all other fronts.

“India and China have shown the wisdom to move ahead in their bilateral relations even as contentious issues such as the border dispute are separately addressed,” Sinha said yesterday.

“Economic integration and an overall improvement in relations have not been held hostage to differences over specific issues.

“The wisdom of adopting such an approach to India-Pakistan relations is self-evident,” Sinha said. “I hope our neighbour will not keep its eyes shut to this truth.”

He was delivering the inaugural address at the Fifth Asian Security Conference, organised by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, on “Asian Security and China in 2000-2010”.

Debunking alarmists who predict that sooner or later a clash between Delhi and Beijing is inevitable, Sinha said: “Let me state with full conviction that India neither pursues nor makes policy towards China based on the belief that conflict between the two is inevitable.”

Sinha’s reassurance is part of India’s latest policy to engage with China in a big way. A series of high-level visits to the country are being planned over the next few months.

Defence minister George Fernandes — whose classification of China as India’s “potential enemy number 1” had put relations between the two countries in deep freeze — will be shortly travelling to Beijing. He will assure the Chinese leadership, particularly the defence establishment, that in the days to come, Delhi would rather see them as a partner than a rival.

The dates of Fernandes’ visit are being worked out. Indications suggest it may take place in a month or two. Fernandes’ visit will be followed by a tour, probably in May or June, by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The long-pending visits will provide the countries the opportunity to raise their engagement to a higher level and work in close cooperation on areas of mutual interest.

While Delhi is keen to strengthen ties with Beijing, it is also trying to make it clear that such a relationship will be on an equal footing and based on mutual trust and confidence.

“China is and will remain forward looking and infused with a sense of optimism. India’s policies will be not be based on fear of Chinese power or envy of China’s economic achievements. They will be based on the conviction that a prosperous India is inevitable. So is a strong and prosperous China,” Sinha said.

“It is, therefore, logical, reasonable and in the enlightened self-interest of both that the two countries learn not just to live with each other but also to address differences and build on what is common.”

The differences range from China’s nuclear and missile help to Pakistan, its refusal to recognise Sikkim as an integral part of India and to come out in support of India’s candidature at the UN Security Council.

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