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Indian FM calls for joint effort with China for regional security
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20:14, June 06, 2008

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Visiting Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday urged India and China work together to safeguard peace, security and stability in Asia.

Speaking at Peking University, Mukherjee said, "We will need to evolve a security architecture which takes into account the conditions prevailing in Asia."

An "open and inclusive" architecture, which was flexible enough to accommodate the great diversity in Asia, was needed, he said.

Mukherjee said security issues could be discussed at some forums, such as the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)Regional Forum, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

India and China should try to work together for a new framework from these basic building blocks, he said. This would help both nations address common concerns, such as the security of sea lanes of communication, which were critical to trade and energy flows in the region and on which the future of both nations would depend.

Mukherjee said the two nations had steadily improved bilateral ties. The trade and economic relations were rapidly becoming the bedrock for a more intensive engagement.

"We are likely to cross the target of 60 billion U.S. dollars in bilateral trade by 2010," he said.

Moreover, India and China were building mutual trust and confidence between militaries. The two sides successfully held the first joint anti-terror military training last year, and this would be followed by another military training this year, he noted.

There was also growing engagement between Indian and Chinese business communities, academics and media. "These positive signs of change hold great promise for the future," he said.

After the speech, Mukherjee presented an Indian government donation of 7.5 million rupees (176,000 U.S. dollars) to the Center for India Studies of Peking University.

Mukherjee is visiting China from June 4 to 7 at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. This was his first visit to China since he took up his post.


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