Oct. 27 – Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao met during the sidelines of the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits held in Thailand this weekend, with Singh stressing that the border question with China is a “complex issue” and that both sides have an obligation to maintain peace and tranquility pending a solution.
Chinese and Indian foreign ministers are scheduled to meet today in Bangalore to further discuss the matter. According to Indian Express, Singh said he had discussed with Mr. Wen all issues, including the boundary question, problems concerning common rivers and matters related to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
“I explained to Premier Wen that Dalai Lama is our honoured guest and he is a religious leader,” Mr. Singh said. At the same time, he said “we do not allow Tibetan refugees to indulge in political activities and proof of that is that we took resolute action against some Tibetans during Olympics (torch relay) last year, following reports that some Tibetan refugees might create problems.”
Indian officials on Saturday claimed that the two leaders skirted all contentious issues in their discussion. Mr. Singh, who contradicted this, said that the two sides cannot wish away the differences and that there was a need to stay engaged. The prime minister said he had raised with Mr. Wen issues related to common rivers, like water-sharing and reported construction of a dam by China on the Brahmaputra River.
The Assam Tribute reports that the Dalai Lama’s seven day visit to Arunachal Pradesh has already been approved by India’s External Affairs Ministry. Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu was quoted by PTI as saying: “China should not also raise objection to a visit by the PM and other leaders as there was no border with China. Ancient records available at the Tawang monastery prove Tawang had a border with Tibet only.”