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N-deal: China to back India at IAEA

By Shishir Bhate in Sapporo
July 08, 2008 18:07 IST
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China is ready to co-operate with India over the use of nuclear energy for civilian use when New Delhi goes to the International Atomic Energy Agency and subsequently to the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, and India does not see China as standing in the way as it goes ahead with the nuclear deal with the United States, said Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh -- replying to a foreign journalist's query on his response to the withdrawal of support the UPA government -- said India would be going to the IAEA 'very soon'.

Briefing media persons in Sapporo, about two hours away from the venue of the G8 Summit in Hokkaido, northern Japan, the foreign secretary said India does not anticipate any difficulty over the issue from the Chinese.

During a busy day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and discussed the boundary issue. Both India and China agreed to maintain peace along the border. They expressed positive appreciation of the bilateral relations between the two Asian giants and the willingness to push forward with strengthening political and economic ties.

Menon also said that the issue of trade between India too figured prominently in the talks with bilateral trade between the two nations showing rapid development.

He said that in the first five months of the current year, two-way trade had touched $24 billion, with the balance being in India's favour slightly.

The two leaders will meet again on Wednesday when the BRIC (Brazil, India, Russia, China) nations meet for discussions at Toyako, the venue of the G8 Summit.

The foreign secretary said there is a new momentum that has been imparted to this privileged partnership.

India and Mexico discussed how the developing world could cope with escalating oil and food prices, and with the impact of the financial and structural imbalances on their economies.

India's ties with South Korea have grown robustly, with Korean majors making heavy investments in India. India and Korea also discussed the issue of energy and climate change: 40 per cent of power in Korea is generated from nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, South Korea has invited Dr Singh for a visit to the country. The prim minister has accepted the invitation and is expected to travel later in the year.

The prime minister also held a meeting with the leaders of the Outreach Five (India, China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa) nations after which the G5 issued a political declaration that looked at the entire gamut of challenges currently facing the world, including economic and financial imbalance and the need for structural changes, food and energy security, climate change, world economy, and the need to need to achieve millennium development goals (MDGs).

The G5 nations were mindful of according priority to development and to ensuring that benefits of globalization, which have been threatened severely by food inflation, expensive oil, and macroeconomic imbalances, leading to a global slowdown, do not cripple their growth.

The G5 declaration said that the current crippling food security crisis demands a rapid and substantial increase in allocation of resources to support rural development and combat hunger and poverty. They called for a swift and resolute action by all governments to tide over this crisis.

The nations also said there is a need to take an integrated approach to international energy cooperation and international development cooperation, ensuring access to energy by developing countries on an equitable and sustainable manner.

The Outreach 5 reaffirmed their commitment to the establishment of a stable and orderly international financial system that is more transparent and legitimate.

Issues of migration that have impacted Brazil, Mexico and India too were discussed at the Outreach 5 meeting.

As Outreach 5 nations constitute almost 42 per cent of the world's population, 12 per cent of global GDP, and 16 per cent of peacekeepers deployed the world over, they are a force to reckon with and can hope to participate in global talks on global issues.

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Shishir Bhate in Sapporo