China's Li Keqiang in India to meet with PM Manmohan Singh over border tensions


Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang (L) is welcomed by Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahmed on his arrival at Palam Airport in New Delhi on May 19, 2013. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in India Sunday afternoon on the first stop of his maiden foreign trip, for talks on issues ranging from an unresolved border dispute to a festering trade-imbalance.



Li Keqiang, China's new premier, is meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in India, where the two are expected to talk border tensions and trade relationships. 

Keqiang is on his first foreign trip since taking office, and will also be making stops in Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany. 

The leaders of the world's two most populous neighboring countries will likely tackle the thorny issue of the disputed Ladakh region, which flared up again in April when Chinese troops set up tents 19 kilometers inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The area was the battleground for a short but bloody war in 1962. 

Border talks have failed to yield any lasting resolutions in 10 years and 15 rounds of discussions, the Washington Post reported. 

“We have a number of mechanisms available to us for resolving the boundary question," said China's Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao. "Through concerted efforts of the two sides, we have made constant progress in addressing the issue, and peace and tranquillity in border areas has been maintained."

Keqiang's strategic decision to make Delhi his first stop has also made a good impression on India's government.  

“We think very highly of this gesture because it is our view that high-level political exchanges between our two countries are an important aspect and vehicle for our expanded cooperation,” said India’s external affairs ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

The two leaders are also expected to forge greater economic ties. China has quickly become India's largest trading partner, with two-way trade up to $75 billion in 2011 from $5 billion in 2002. 

More from GlobalPost: China and India withdraw troops from Daulat Beg Oldie, Ladakh, ending standoff