New Delhi: In a firm message to China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday voiced India's serious concern over the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh and told his counterpart Li Keqiang that in the absence of peace and tranquility along the border, bilateral ties will suffer.

57-year-old Li Keqiang, on his first foreign trip met Singh at his official residence and exchanged views on the contentious boundary dispute, trans-border rivers and trade deficit.

Singh conveyed India's serious concerns over the breach of status quo by China. He emphasized that maintaining peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control was essential for good bilateral ties.

The restricted talks were followed by a dinner which was attended by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, BJP leader Arun Jaitley and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat.

Singh also raised "upfront" other issues of priority interest, including concerns on water flows of trans border rivers, especially in view of construction of three additional dams approved by China on Brahmaputra River.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and senior officials including National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and India's Ambassador to China S Jaishankar (from the Indian side) were also present at the meeting.

China and India are friendly neighbours linked by mountains and rivers, said the Chinese Premier. “In the 21st century, political exchanges between the two countries are getting more frequent and practical cooperation is expanding,” Li Keqiang said. He said that it serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people and is a blessing to Asia and the world at large that China and India co-exist peacefully, maintain friendly relations and work together to realize national rejuvenation.

He also said that China regarded India as an important partner and friend, adding, "I am looking forward to exchanging views with Indian leaders on bilateral ties and regional and global issues of common concern."

Li Keqiang also expressed confidence that his visit would strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, expand common interests and consolidate bilateral friendship, which would inject new vigour into the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership designed for peace and prosperity.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived India on Sunday on a three-day state visit, his first overseas trip after assuming office in March. From India, Li will go to Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany. He is in India at the invitation of Manmohan Singh.


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