Necessary for India, China to resolve legacy issues such as borders: Shyam Saran

| Updated: Jul 21, 2017 03:49 IST

New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran has said both India and China should take steps to try and resolve existing legacy issues such as reaching an understanding on demarcation of borders. Participating in an interaction on the theme "China-centric world order inevitable?", Saran said that he compares what was happening now between China and India with what was happening when he was foreign secretary from 2004 to 2006. "In 2005, we had the announcement of strategic and cooperative partnership and we had guiding principles, political parameters for resolving border issues, and if you ask me what was the positive turn in the relationship, including the maps which were shown to us during that time, showing Sikkim as part of India," said Saran "What was different at that time was India was growing at about nine percent per annum. It was seen perceptionally; not always in realty. It was seen actually as a narrowing of the gap with China, and it was also seen as a country, which for its own reasons, will pursue policies which will act as a constraint for China. So, asymmetry was there, but India was seen actually getting into the same league as China," he added. He was candid enough to admit that if there was de-hyphenation between India and Pakistan, "you were hyphenated in the some weak way with China." He said that it was important to remember that, "At that time, don't forget, we were negotiating a nuclear deal with the United States which China thought perhaps that India was moving closer to the United States, and this may also act as restraint on China." He felt that a decade or more ago, China was more amenable to India's sensitivities. "So, at that time, what was the narrative from the Chinese side and from our side as well that, we both are emerging countries (and) our relations are important not only from a bilateral aspect, but today, they have acquired strategic dimension," Saran said. "So, if we wish to see changes in the international order which accommodates our interests more and is more appropriate to the interest of India, China and (other) developing countries, then if India and China work together, they much more likely to bring about those changes," he added. "There was an essence that we had a bilateral issue, but you knew, we had bigger convergences, and actually we should try and fashion a relationship which we can work.. it is necessary for us to try and resolve those legacy issues such as the borders. In 2005, it was try and solve it quickly as possible. Five years later, in 2010, the same prime minister comes to India and says this is a long term issue and we need time to resolve it," the former Indian foreign secretary said. "At that time, perhaps, there was an environment where India was seen as power which could be in same league as China, and secondly, there was an international environment where there was more to be gained in working with India, rather than confronting India," Saran said. (ANI)