10 January 2008 National

India not part of any 'so called contain China' effort: PM

New Delhi, Jan 10 (PTI) India is not part of any "so-called contain China" effort and its engagement with Beijing is a "priority" and "imperative necessity", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today.

"I have made it clear to the Chinese leadership that India is not part of any so-called contain China effort," he told reporters when asked about the four-nation security dialogue among US, Japan, Australia and India.

Singh, who is making his maiden visit as Prime Minister from Sunday, said "there is no misunderstanding" between India and China on the proposed dialogue among the four nations which, he added, "never got going".

China has been looking at the quadrilateral talks with suspicion and had even asked the countries to explain the reason for this arrangement which it felt propagated "cold-war mentality".

"China is our largest neighbour and many ways engagement with China is an imperative necessity," Singh said on the sidelines of a function to launch "India and Global Affairs" magazine being brought by prominent Marathi daily Sakaal.

Singh, who will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and call on President Hu Jintao during his three-day visit, said "we will discuss all issues with frankness and friendship. Engagement with China is a priority". (More)

Replying to a question on reported ban on recruitment of Indian workers in Malaysia, Singh said the Malaysian government had denied the report."We have very good relations with Malaysia," he said.

Apparently referring to recent tussle with ethnic Indian community and the Malaysian government, he said "there are processes in the system in Malaysia itself and they should be allowed to sort out the issue."

On the recent violence in Kenya where ethnic Indian community became a target, Singh said it was not directed at the Indian community and the "origin of the problem lies somewhere".

Touching on such incidents, he said Indian government had concerns about the welfare of the people of Indian origin abroad. But at the same time, "we will have to exercise due restraint particularly when we deal with citizens of other countries".

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OUTLOOK 10 January, 2008