India Flags Concerns To China Over PoK Rail Link

28 June 2014
The Daily Excelsior


Beijing: India today flagged its concerns to top Chinese leadership over Beijing's new feasibility study launched to build a rail link between Pakistan and China through PoK and the ballooning trade deficit. During talks visiting Vice President Hamid Ansari had with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, a variety of issues were discussed including the border, the proposed rail link through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), trade and investment. Ansari is on a five-day visit to China to take part in the 60th anniversary of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence propounded by the two countries along with Myanmar in 1954. All outstanding issues between India and China to be addressed speedily have been raised, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told a media briefing here after Ansari's meeting with Li. Ansari, during candid discussions with Li, told him that the new Government in India continues to give priority to its relations with China. 'We also expect all the outstanding issues to be addressed speedily,' Singh said. Asked whether the continued incursions by Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were discussed, Singh said both sides agreed that peace and tranquility should be maintained. Responding to a question on China recently showing Arunachal Pradesh as its territory in its latest map, Singh referred to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi which said 'cartographic depiction' does not change the facts on the ground. 'Our position on the areas that have been shown in the map is well known,' she said. Repeatedly asked to comment on the map issue, Singh said, 'We raise all issues of concern.' On the issue of China commissioning a feasibility study to build a rail link with Pakistan through PoK, the Foreign Secretary said these issues were raised with Chinese interlocutors. There has been series of high level exchanges, Singh said. 'Our relationship has reached a degree of maturity where we raise issues of our concern and they raise their issues. I do not want to go into details,' she said. The two leaders also discussed the need to address the trade deficit with New Delhi maintaining that it was not sustainable. Li told Ansari that India should identify products which could sell in Chinese markets. For his part, Vice President Ansari pointed out that some Indian products faced market access problems and China needs to redress the issue, Singh said. On China establishing industrial parks, she said, the two sides are discussing the issue and asked the media to wait for the MoU to be finalised by both sides. Commerce Minister Nirmala Seetharaman, who is accompanying Ansari, is due to meet her Chinese counterpart Gao Hucheng on Monday during which the two sides are expected to finalise the MoU. Indian Ambassador Ashok K Kantha said priority of the new government is to step up manufacturing and want Chinese to get involved as the country has a strong track record in this sector. Asked about attempts in China to explore joint security cooperation between India, China and Pakistan, she said it is was a hypothetical question. There is no discussion on trilateral cooperation between India, China and Pakistan, she said. Singh also declined to respond to question on the concerns raised by China, saying she cannot share the details of the privileged talks between the two sides. Meanwhile, amid growing controversy over China showing parts of Arunachal Pradesh and large parts of Jammu and Kashmir as its territory in a latest map, India today made it clear that the depiction of cartographic maps did not change the reality on the ground. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in New Delhi that Arunachal Pradesh was an 'integral and inalienable part of India' and it was told to China at the highest level. The latest Chinese map shows Arunachal as Chinese territory. A large part of J&K is also shown as part of China. The controversy erupted at a time when Vice-President Hamid Ansari is meeting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing today. He is in China on an official visit to celebrate the 60th year of Panchsheel - the five principles for peaceful co-existence that once formed the bedrock of Sino-India ties. 'Depiction of cartographic maps does not change the reality on the ground,' Mr Akbaruddin said when his attention was drawn to the Chinese move. Four days ago on June 24, speed boats of Chinese troops had intruded into the Pangong lake of Eastern Ladakh region in J&K. According to reports, People's Liberation Army troops in five high-speed boats came nearly six km inside the Indian portion of the lake on June 24 and retreated after more than two hours. When asked about the reported incursion, Mr Akbaruddin said the sentinels of the country were there and they would act if there was any such situation. The Pangong lake, located about 60 km from Leh, continues to remain a matter of dispute between the two neighbours and part of this salt water lake is under Chinese control in the Autonomous Region of Tibet. Speculations are rife that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may broach the subject with the Chinese Prime Minister during the BRICS summit in Brazil next month. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said that his Government objects to and condemns the Chinese claim on the north-eastern State. He said the State Government wanted the Centre to talk to China over the issue.