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'India, China to cooperate on Afghanistan despite Pak role'

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

Despite differences on the role of Pakistan, India and China will find ways to cooperate on terrorism concerns in Afghanistan after US troops leave the war-torn country next year, a state-run Chinese daily said today.

"It is expected that China and Indian will find ways to cooperate over this issue despite their discrepancies on Pakistan, China's long-time partner but India's bitter rival," an article on state-run Global Times' website said on the second day of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India.

The article came as Li is scheduled to visit Islamabad from May 22 after this three-day India tour.

China for the first time held talks with India recently on the approach to be taken towards dealing with Afghanistan after the US troop withdrawal next year keeping in mind mutual concerns over likely return of Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Significantly, the article also said India can also serve as a balance of the US' "pivot to Asia" strategy which China says is aimed at containing it.

"Last month, India suddenly withdrew from the planning of a joint naval exercise with the US and Japan off the US-administered Pacific island of Guam. These prove that both China and India are eyeing long-term development and showing restraint over potential mistrust," the article said.

"In 2011, when former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton urged New Delhi to go beyond its "Look East" policy and play "a more assertive" role in the Asia-Pacific region, her remarks were interpreted as wooing India to contain China," it said.

"But Indian diplomats have been keeping a cool head toward China. They hope to cooperate with China through the framework of regional institutions such as BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation," it said.

On recent the border stand off, it said "both China and India have recognised that border disputes cannot play a decisive role in defining the bilateral relations".

"Border issues are included in Li's agenda, although concerns and scepticism are not expected to be turned around in one visit," it said.

"Financial cooperation also tops the agenda for Li's visit, as revealed by the composition of the business delegation accompanying him, which includes the executives of banks and other industries," it said.

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First Published: Mon, May 20 2013. 22:45 IST