China reassures India, says no question of security threat

BEIJING: Reacting to external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement that China posed a security threat, the Chinese foreign ministry said there was no question of India and China regarding each other as a security risk.

Leaders of both China and India have agreed to take forward their bilateral relationship in a spirit of friendship and not consider each other as rivals, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters on Thursday.

Far from being a challenge or security risk to any Asian nation, China's growth has provided tremendous opportunities to other countries in the world, he said.

"India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he regarded China as a partner and this sentiment has been expressed by the Chinese leaders as well. There is no question of China and India regarding each other as security risk. I don't understand why such statements are being made now," Ma Jaili, Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told TNN.

Chinese leaders have their hands full trying to rework their relationship with the United States in the wake of the election of a Democratic president and would prefer to avoid any controversy over its relationship with other countries, sources said. This is more so because Barack Obama, the new president, has made some significant remarks expressing his desire to further build US-India relations.

China, which recently managed to persuade Japanese leaders to shed their antagonism over the sharing of sea waters, wants to be seen as a responsible power capable of maintaining a good relationship with its neighbours, sources pointed out.

Mukherjee's statement is extremely significant because it came at a time when Admiral Wu Shengli, chief of the navy of the People's Liberation Army, had begun his tour of India and the Indian Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major had landed in China to attend an air show.

6 Nov 2008
The Times of India

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