Pranab Mukherjee, Yang Jiechi meet in Hamburg

New Delhi, May 29 | Updated: May 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
Notwithstanding Chinas refusal to accept Arunachal Pradesh as part of Indian territory and denying visa to an IAS officer hailing from the state, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday held a fruitful round of talks in Hamburg with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. In the talks, the ministers also reviewed progress of the special representative talks on the vexed boundary issue.

This was the first meeting between Mukherjee and the new Chinese foreign minister on the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Germany, which India is attending for the first time.

According to a statement issued by the ministry of external affairs here, the two ministers reviewed progress under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for defence cooperation. The statement also said, dates would be fixed for the annual meeting of the defence dialogue mechanism. The MoU was signed in 2006, when Mukherjee, then the defence minister, visited Beijing.

The discussion between the two ministers also touched upon the boundary question and it was agreed that special representatives will continue with their work with the encouragement and guidance of the political leadership, the statement said.

Dates for the dialogue, as also the date and venue of the first joint drill, to be conducted by the armies of the countries, was expected to be finalised during the visit to China of the Indian Army Chief, Gen JJ Singh, that concluded on Sunday.

The delay is now being attributed to New Delhis displeasure over Beijings stand on Arunachal Pradesh.

Beijing is believed to have denied visa to the Arunchali officer, who was part of a large delegation of 107 IAS officers, on the ground that Arunachal Pradesh was a part of Chinese territory.