The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Singh & Wen shake show

Port Louis (Mauritius), March 30: Manmohan Singh is warming up for the handshake that would shake the world.

The Prime Minister today said his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao early next month in Delhi would have an 'impact of significance' not only on South Asia but the world at large.

'The Chinese Premier himself stated that the world will be watching the two of us when we shake hands,' Singh told reporters on board the aircraft taking him to Mauritius for a three-day bilateral visit.

'Together, India and China contain one-third of the world's population,' he added, stressing that the impact of 'close relations' would be felt beyond the region.

Singh suggested that the shadow of the border dispute dating back to 1962 would not be allowed to fall on the handshake. 'We live in a dynamic world,' he said. 'Both sides had taken positions in the past. Our effort will be to find common ground.'

Later, sources close to Singh plucked a quote from a conversation he had with a Pakistani delegation, led by former Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, which called on him on Tuesday. 'We cannot change borders but in a globalised world, borders do not matter,' Singh was quoted as having said.

Singh hinted that the thrust of his talks with Wen would be on stepping up economic cooperation which, he felt, might result in a resolution of the boundary problem. 'The economic cooperation between the two countries has grown enormously and I hope the visit of the Chinese Premier will lead to a further development of economic relations,' he said.

'I hope the process will result in clarifying and agreeing on the basic principles with which to find a solution to the boundary problem.'


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