Continuing the government's interaction with the visiting Chinese delegation led by vice-minister of commerce Zhong Shan, foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon pointed out at a function in New Delhi that ties between India and China are now more evolved and nuanced, as the boundary dispute between the two countries had not limited engagement in other areas.
Cautioning against resorting to protectionism to deal with the world economic meltdown, he said, "For either of us, India or China, to respond to the economic crisis through protectionism, no matter how attractive it would be in the short term, would only hurt our economies." He said underlined that China was India's single largest trading partner.
Speaking during the release of a book, `India China Relations: The Border Issue and Beyond' by Mohan Guruswamy and Zorawar Daulet Singh, Menon said that both countries have maintained the status quo over the border issue.
"We have our perceptions and they have theirs about the boundary and incursions into each other's territories. The important thing is … there is nothing to suggest that China is trying to alter the status quo,'' Menon said.
Menon also clarified that the nature of the boundary dispute with China was different from that with Pakistan. "With China it is not a border dispute but a boundary dispute, which is peaceful. In J&K, it is not a territorial or a bounday problem," he said.
He said that the two countries were competing and cooperating at the same time and they would not allow the boundary dispute to limit other engagements. (See: India, China in talks to avert toy trade war)