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China, India step up economic engagement despite border disputes

Updated: Sep 19,2014 9:37 AM     Xinhua

President Xi Jinping (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly meet media reporters after their talks in New Delhi, India, Sept 18, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]

NEW DELHI--The “Chinese Dragon” and the “Indian elephant” are stepping up trade and investment engagement to forge a closer development partnership despite their border disputes left over by history.

The two Asian neighbors have agreed on investment in India’s railways, industrial parks and the adjustment of their trade imbalance during the talks between President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sept 18.

“Both China and India are influential countries in the world. When our two nations speak with one voice, the whole world will listen attentively,” Xi told Modi during the talks.

If the “Chinese Dragon” and the “Indian elephant” co-exist harmoniously and realize peaceful, cooperative development, he added, it will benefit 2.5 billion people in the two nations as well as those in other developing countries, and will have far-reaching effect in the region and the world as a whole.

The two sides agreed on cooperation to lift India’s train speed and jointly explore the ways to upgrade railway stations and develop high-speed railways in the country, Xi told reporters after the talks.

The existing Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore railway line will be among the first to have the train speed increased, and the two countries will also launch training programs in heavy-haul transportation, he added.

Meanwhile, Xi said Beijing will take active measures to import more Indian pharmaceuticals and agricultural products that are sold well in China in a bid to balance bilateral trade.

In addition, China will establish two industrial parks in the western Indian state of Gujarat and the central state of Maharashtra that produce power transmission equipment and auto parts, respectively, he said.

Modi said India welcomes China to participate in his country’s infrastructural development such as power generation and railways, and hopes to expand exports of pharmaceuticals and manufacturing products to China.

In the meantime, both leaders agreed to properly manage and control the border disputes between the two nations.

“On border issue, the two countries should continue to carry out friendly consultation to seek a fair and reasonable solution that both sides can accept,” Xi said.

“Before the border issue is eventually solved, we should jointly manage and control our disputes in a proper way and maintain peace and tranquility in the border regions. We should not let the border issue affect our bilateral relations,” he said.` For his part, Modi said India is willing to work with China in this regard, advance their negotiations and find a solution at an early date.

On Tibet-related issue, Modi reiterated that India will not allow Tibetans to conduct anti-China political activities in the country, reaffirming that Tibet is a part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China.

On international cooperation, China welcomes and supports India to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Xi told Modi.

Founded in 2001, the SCO groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It now has India as an observer.

President Xi Jinping (L) holds talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India, Sept 18, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]


The Chinese president started his India visit from Modi’s home state of Gujarat in western part of the country Wednesday, which also marked the prime minister’s 64th birthday.

It is Xi’s first trip to India since he took office in March 2013, and also the first state visit in eight years by a Chinese president to the country.

The history of Gujarat testifies to Modi’s metaphor that China and India are “two bodies, one spirit,” Xi said during Thursday’s talks with Modi, who took office in May.

“Eminent Chinese monk Xuan Zang went by Gujarat during his trip to India to seek Buddhist scriptures in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and he brought the sutras back to Xi’an in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, which is my home province, and disseminated the Buddhist doctrines there,” Xi noted.

“I would like to invite you to visit Xi’an when you come to China next time and have a look at the place where Xuan Zang stored and translated the sutras,” he said. “We should carry forward our friendship and cooperation and further develop bilateral relations.”

As important neighbors, China and India are both major developing countries, emerging-market economies and important forces in the world’s multi-polarization process, said Xi, adding that both nations are in the great historical process of realizing national renewal.

The international community says the 21st century belongs to Asia and the development of China and India holds the key, he said.

“China views India as a long-standing strategic cooperative partner. We are looking forward to working with India to build a closer development partnership and deepen our cooperation on bilateral, regional and global levels,” he said.

President Xi Jinping (6th R) holds talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India, Sept 18, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]


During the talks, the Chinese president called on leaders of the two countries to play a strategic and leading role, maintain high-level mutual visits and contacts, and strengthen exchanges on various levels.

“We should always respect and take into consideration each other’s concerns and persistently deepen political mutual trust. We should firmly grasp the correct strategic direction of bilateral relations and make cooperation the main theme in our ties all along,” Xi said.

Noting that China and India share the same goals, similar development concepts and compatible development strategies, Xi urged the two countries to push for all-around and pragmatic cooperation in such areas as information, railway infrastructure, industrial parks, clean energy, science and technology, aerospace and finance.

China is willing to expand exchanges and cooperation with India in culture, education, tourism, religion, film and television, media and human resources, he said.

Over the next five years, the two sides will each send 200 youths every year for mutual visits, said Xi, adding that China will help train Chinese language teachers for India.

In addition, Xi urged the two nations to speed up the construction of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, carry out cooperation within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and advance economic integration and inter-connectivity in the region.

The two neighbors, he added, should also strengthen strategic communication and coordination in international affairs, commit themselves to promoting democratization of international relations, and safeguard common interests of developing countries.

“China is willing to maintain communication with India in multi-lateral mechanisms such as the UN, G20 and BRICS, and enhance cooperation on the global agenda such as global governance, sustainable development, climate change, anti-terrorism, energy and food security,” he said.

Modi, for his part, said India and China were both ancient civilizations and Xi’s visit has opened up a new phase in the history of the relations between the two countries.

The combined population of India and China accounts for a third of the world’s total, he said, adding that their cooperation and common development not only benefit the two nations and peoples, but also make great contributions to the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world.

The prime minister said he and Xi are both committed to the national development and rejuvenation, and both highly value the relations between the two countries.

Modi said he is willing to make concerted efforts with Xi to push forward bilateral ties and he is very delighted to accept Xi’s invitation to visit China next year.

India will study and participate in the China-proposed initiatives of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said Modi.

He suggested the two countries increase coordination and cooperation in international affairs and jointly cope with the challenges of terrorism, energy security and climate change.

After the talks, the two leaders jointly met the press and witnessed the signing of a slew of deals between the two countries on economy and trade, finance, transportation, customs and culture.

Also on Thursday, Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan, visited the Tagore International School in New Delhi.

India is the last stop of Xi’s four-nation tour in Central and South Asia, which has already taken him to Tajikistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. In Tajikistan, he also attended an SCO summit.