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India, China not Allowing Differences to Hamper Relations

Addressing the 7th Asian security conference in New Delhi on "changing security dynamic in East Asia", Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh Thursday said both India and China were aware that trust and cooperation between them were one of the most crucial elements that made the region and Asia a vibrant and energetic fulcrum for growth.

"We are engaged in positive ways to expand our commonalities, while pro-actively addressing our differences, including the boundary question. We are doing so in a purposive and mutually-acceptable manner," he said at the three-day meeting organized by the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Singh noted that despite the differences on the boundary issue, the 3,400 km-long land border with China has remained tranquil over the last 25 years.

"This is by no means a minor achievement and should be enough to silence those who look at India-China relations only from an adversarial prism," Singh said.

Singh said there was increasingly greater realization that there was enough space and opportunity in the region for both India and China to prosper.

Citing the example of Sino-Indian trade, he said from a few hundred million dollars in the beginning of the 1990s, it has already crossed US$1 3 billion last year.

Singh said the two countries view their relations in a larger regional and global backdrop and realize the responsibility they both shoulder in contributing to the well-being of humanity.

"We are mindful of the overarching importance of a peaceful surrounding environment for us to pursue our most fundamental task of national development," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 28, 2005)

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