Beijing: China on Sunday gave first "positive" signs on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal during informal talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao as the two sides prepared to move forward on a political framework to resolve the boundary issue.
Singh and Wen held a ''restricted meeting'' during which the Indo-US nuclear issue came up. The Chinese premier was "very positive", highly placed sources in the meeting said but did not elaborate. Beijing has been non-committal and ambiguous on its position on the nuclear deal.
India is looking for support at 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers'' Group from China, an influential member, for a waiver for international nuclear commerce. The two prime ministers will discuss the boundary issue on Monday.
Special Representatives M.K. Narayanan and Dai Bingguo, senior Vice Foreign Minister, will meet on Tuesday to take forward the negotiations on the issue. "The meeting was very excellent. It went off well," the sources said, adding it was "warm and cordial". The developments in Pakistan in the wake of the assassination of former Premier Benazir Bhutto last month also figured during the talks with both leaders voicing similar concerns, the sources said.
Singh, who arrived on Sunday morning on a three-day maiden visit, will hold wide ranging discussions with Wen tomorrow on entire gamut of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
During his hectic schedule, the Prime Minister interacted with Indian industry leaders, who wanted him to press Beijing to lift trade and non-trade barriers, besides other restrictions. In some plain-speaking, the economist prime minister asked the Indian Inc to "think big" and learn to compete with China while noting that there was enough space for the two countries to grow and a "historic necessity" to work together.
"We must engage China and learn to both compete and cooperate," he told a 27-member Indian business delegation in the run-up to the India-China business summit here on Monday.
He said "It is a historic necessity for the two great neighbours to work together. There will be areas of competition, and there will be areas for cooperation. There is enough space in the world for both countries to continue to grow."
"The rise of China and India should be viewed as an ''international public good'' by the global community since it offered new opportunities to sustain global growth", Singh said. India also gave security clearance to cargo flights by China''s Great Wall Airlines to Mumbai and Chennai and it was for Beijing now to allow Indian carriers to commence operations to various Chinese destinations.
"We have cleared from our side the cargo flights (of Great Wall) to Mumbai and Chennai," the sources said. New Delhi''s move would enable resolve the impasse between the civil aviation authorities of the two countries over India''s granting of flying rights to the Chinese cargo carrier to fly to these two destinations.
It would also enable Beijing to grant long-pending clearance to Air India and Jet Airways to launch flights to Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shanghai. India had earlier offered Great Wall rights to operate to Delhi as a point of call instead of the two Indian metros, which was not accepted by the Chinese side. National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Indian Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao were present during the parleys between Singh and Wen.
Striking a positive note before his talks, Singh said bilateral ties were now poised to enter a "vibrant and dynamic phase". "We attach high priority to strengthening our relations with China," he said adding that China was India''s largest neighbour and a "focal point" of its "Look East" policy.
"An early settlement of the boundary question willinterests of the two countries and should, therefore, be pursued as a strategic objective," Singh had said in an interview to Chinese media.