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Sunday, September 21, 2014  

India, China should cast off shadow of history, move forward: Dai
BEIJING India and China have been friends for 99.9 per cent of the time in over 2,000 years of exchanges between them, Beijing’s chief negotiator in boundary talks Dai Bingguo says, underlining that the two sides should “cast off” the shadow of the 1962 war and build a bright future together.

“In over 2,000 years of exchanges between China and India, we have been friends for 99.9 per cent of the time, while unpleasant experience took up only 0.1 per cent,” 71-year-old Dai, who has had the longest engagement with India during the 15 rounds of border talks, said in an interview, his first ever to the Indian media.

Dai, who is set to retire in March next year, negotiated with four top Indian officials, Brajesh Mishra, JN Dixit, MK Narayanan and present National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, on the border issue and normalisation of relations.

“More and more people of vision in India believe that our two countries should cast off the shadow of history in a forward-looking spirit, and the past should guide rather than hinder our endeavour to build a bright future together. I fully agree with this view,” he said.

“Nothing is impossible to a willing mind. As long as we are devoted to staying friends forever, never treat each other as enemy, pursue long-term peace and friendly co-existence and vigorously promote win-win cooperation, we will be capable of creating miracles to the benefit of our peoples and the entire mankind,” he said.

China, Dai said, is fully committed to pursuing peaceful development and developing friendly and cooperative relations with India.

In the interview, Dai gave  answers, covering progress made in the boundary negotiations, China’s all-weather ties with Pakistan and his assessment of India’s foreign policy.

On the India-China border issue for which he has been China’s Special Representative for all the 15 rounds held so far, Dai said since the start of the boundary talks in 1979, China and India have worked “relentlessly to push forward the negotiations and achieved some positive results.” “The boundary question, an issue left over from history, is highly complicated. An early settlement will serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples.

“I believe that in seeking the settlement, we should always bear in mind the overall interest of the bilateral relations, act in the spirit of peace, friendship, equal-footed consultation, mutual respect and mutual accommodation, and work to narrow differences and expand common ground,” Dai said.

“If we work in this way, we will find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement. I hope that the Special Representatives from both sides will keep up the good work and finish the negotiation,” he said.

Outlining the progress, he said in “we took an innovative step and set up the Special Representatives’ meeting mechanism” in 2003.

Outlining his thoughts for future Chinese negotiators on India, Dai said India cannot be “wooed or ordered” around by anyone as it pursued an independent foreign policy.

“In my view, India is a country of strategic independence. It will not be wooed or ordered about by anyone else. Being a forerunner of the Non-Aligned Movement and a large emerging country with growing international influence, India will stick to its traditional independent foreign policy and contribute to the peace and development of the region and beyond,” he said, answering a question on China’s apprehensions about US courting India to be a close ally.

Press Trust of India
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