PM meets Chinese President; raises Brahmaputra issue

Photo: PTI

Durban, Mar 28 (PTI) :In the first-high level contact after the new Chinese leadership took over, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met President Xi Jinping and raised the issue of Beijing’s proposal to construct three dams across the Brahmaputra river on its side.

Singh called on President Xi, who took over as President earlier this month as part of decadal change of power structure in China, on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit which the two leaders attended here.

This is the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders at the highest level after the recent change in power structure in China.

“Water was discussed,” official sources said tersely after a 25-minute meeting late last night after the summit without getting into specifics.

The Prime Minister is understood to have conveyed to President Xi concerns in India over the Chinese proposal to construct three dams across Brahmaputra.

India has said the proposal would affect water flow to India while China says it was just run-of-the mill project that would not hold water.

The entire expanse of the bilateral relationship was discussed and the meeting was very positive, the sources said.

The two leaders expressed regards for each other.

All aspects of the relationship were discussed but the South China issue was not not discussed, the sources said.

Asked whether border and trade issues were discussed, the sources maintained that all aspects of bilateral relations came up for discussion.

Both expressed a desire to continue their relationship.

The sources said during an informal discussion at the summit earlier in the day, President Xi told Singh that he was aware that the Prime Minister had good relations with his predecessor Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao and he would like to carry forward that.

Last week, in an interaction with BRICS journalists in Beijing, Xi had said he was looking forward to meeting Singh in Durban.

Xi had warm words about relations with India and proposed a five-point formula under which both the countries would accommodate each other’s concerns in matters of “core interests”.

Xi, who has also assumed the role of chief of the Communist Party and army, had said the boundary question was complex left behind by history and peace and tranquility should be maintained.

Pending settlement of the issue, both the countries should not allow differences to come in the way of overall development of the bilateral ties.

At the meeting, the Prime Minister invited President Xi to visit India to which he said he accepted it and would make the visit at an appropriate time.

Similarly, the President extended an invitation to Singh to visit China and he reciprocated it in a similar vein.

Singh was assisted by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon while Xi was assisted by the new foreign minister, two politburo members and Yang Jeichi, state counsellor who has replaced Dai Binguo, who was the Special Representative with the Indian SR Menon for the dialogue.


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