Oct. 29 – The meetings last week between Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was a mixture of détente over border issues, some cultural cross-referencing, and the laying down of a platform for increased trade opportunities. In what turned out to become a remarkably cordial and informal series of meetings, the quotes came fast and thick from both sides:
“If the host is hospitable and generous, there will be more frequent visits from guests,” as mentioned by Premier Li. Not to be outdone, Chinese President Xi Jinping also told Singh the famous saying “We need to stand tall and look far, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”
Xi offered the proverb after the two sides signed a border protocol, mooting a hotline between military headquarters, and China pushed for an ambitious Bangladesh-Myanmar-India-China economic corridor along the old south Silk Road route.
Indian officials are particularly pleased with a memorandum on water signed as part of nine agreements at the impressive Great Hall of the People that puts “issues of mutual interest” back in dialogue. While stapled visas to Arunachal Pradesh residents remain an irritant, the breakthrough on border management and a preparedness to address a yawning trade deficit remain positive developments.
Stressing common goals, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said, “Our two peoples have the wisdom and our two governments have the ability to manage our differences along the border so that it would not affect the overall interests of our bilateral relations.”