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China�s river projects not to harm India: Wen

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Dec 16 � India and China managed to evolve a broad consensus to resolve outstanding differences through negotiations, even as India called for enhanced cooperation on the trans-border rivers with China.

The contentious issues troubling bilateral relations including the issues of construction of dams on river Brahmaputra and resolution of the border dispute figured at the meeting between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here this afternoon.

Later, to clear doubts, the Chinese Premier addressing a seminar, assured �Indian friends� that all upstream development activities by China would be based on scientific planning and study and would never harm downstream interests. �We will do whatever we can and do it even better,� he said.

�China takes seriously India�s concern about trans-border rivers and we are ready to further improve the joint working mechanism,� he further assured.

The joint communiqu� issued at the end of the bilateral talks though made a brief mention about two issues. There was no joint press conference by the two premiers at the end of the talks and the communiqu� was released to the media by the Ministry of External Affairs. At least six memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed.

�The two sides noted the good cooperation between China and India in the field of trans-border rivers. The Indian side appreciated the flood season hydrological data and the assistance in emergency management provided by the Chinese side. The two sides reiterated that they would promote and enhance cooperation in this field,� said the joint communiqu�.

Later, briefing newsmen Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Nirupama Rao said India has suggested to China that the two countries should enhance cooperation on the trans-border rivers issues. �We have suggested that we should enhance cooperation on the issue. We will discuss the issue further,� she said.

About the dam on river Brahmaputra, the Chinese side reiterated that the project was run-of-the-river one. The Zangmu dam project is not designed to impact the interest of the downstream countries, India was told.

Rao said China has assured that whatever China may do in the future, they would keep the interest of the people living downstream in mind.

Later, addressing a seminar at Indian Council of World Affairs, on �Working Together for New Glories of the Oriental Civilisation�, Premier Wen Jiabao said that trans-border river is a source of livelihood for the people living along the rivers. �To properly preserve, utilise and manage the trans-border rivers is our shared responsibility,� the Chinese Premier said.

Over the years, in order to help the downstream areas with disaster prevention and mitigation, the Chinese technical personnel have defied the hostile natural conditions in upper reaches, overcome tremendous difficulties and even risked their lives to handle emergencies and collect flood season hydrological data that are shared with India.

At the delegation-level talks held at the Hyderabad House, Minister for Water Resources Paban Bansal had joined the meeting along with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

India and China signed an MoU on provisions of hydrological data on the Sutlej river in flood season by China to India.

On the border issue, the two sides reiterated their commitment to resolving outstanding differences including the boundary question at an early date through peaceful negotiations, the joint communiqu� said.

The two sides reiterated that resolution of the boundary question is one of the ten-pronged strategies agreed by leaders of the two countries. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for Settlement of the Boundary Question agreed in 2005 and the process of negotiations being undertaken by the Special Representatives and resolved to actively seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution from the political and strategic perspectives, statement said.

Pending the resolution of the boundary question, the two sides shall work together to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas in line with the previous agreements, the communiqu� said.

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