India, China to study possibility of economic corridor

India and China Wednesday agreed to study the possibility of setting up an economic corridor spanning the two nations and covering Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Beijing: India and China Wednesday agreed to study the possibility of setting up an economic corridor spanning the two nations and covering Bangladesh and Myanmar.

"Further discussions on concepts and alignment of the economic corridor are envisaged. Both India and China would continue to discuss with the other parties to this initiative, and hold the first BCIM Joint Study Group meeting in coming December to study the specific programs on building the BCIM Economic Corridor," said a joint statement.

The statement was issued after apex-level talks between visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Pursuant to an understanding reached in May, India and China have each established a study group on the BCIM [Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar] Economic Corridor.

The leaders, the statement said, recognised that India and China are poised to enter a new stage of economic engagement based on pragmatic cooperation and mutually advantageous policies and practices.

"They expected the Strategic Economic Dialogue during its meeting in November/December 2013 to work out specific projects and initiatives in areas that have already been broadly agreed upon," it said.

The Joint Economic Group, it said, will continue to expand the bilateral economic cooperation and promote a balanced growth of bilateral trade.

Singh, after meeting Li, said the Chinese Premier was receptive to his concern about the unsustainable trade balance between the two countries and they have agreed to explore avenues to bridge this gap.

"We are taking forward the suggestion made by Premier Li in New Delhi for a Chinese industrial park to act as a magnet for Chinese investment in India. We are also exploring the feasibility of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor connecting the two countries via the southern Silk Road," he said.

In 2012-13, India's exports to China were USD 13.53 billion and imports totalled USD 52.24 billion.

The joint statement further said that the two sides agreed to look into the prospects of a bilateral Regional Trade Arrangement (RTA). They will also review the state of the negotiation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Efforts to conclude a framework agreement for the establishment of industrial zones to provide platforms of cluster type development for enterprises of the two countries would be expedited, it said, adding the economic agreements signed at the conclusion of the talks reflect the progress made since May 2013.

It further said the two leaders discussed political and economic issues of regional and global significance, including those with a potential to affect the growth and development prospects of their respective nations.

They agreed to further strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral forums including BRICS, G20 and Russia-India-China to jointly tackle global issues such as climate change, international terrorism, food and energy security, and to establish a fair and equitable international political and economic system.

The leaders encouraged the various mechanisms and dialogues covering relevant issues to meet regularly to ensure a proper appreciation of each other's concerns and interests, the statement added.

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