India, China chart new chapter in economic ties; agree to resolve border dispute

Citing incursions by Chinese troops on the border, India on Thursday expressed concern and said such incidents should be resolved soon as peace and tranquillity on the border was essential for boosting bilateral economic cooperation.

India, China chart new chapter in economic ties; agree to resolve border dispute
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New Delhi: Citing incursions by Chinese troops on the border, India on Thursday expressed concern and said such incidents should be resolved soon as peace and tranquillity on the border was essential for boosting bilateral economic cooperation.

Responding to India's concerns, Chinese President Xi said both sides have agreed to "continue to be sensitive and respectful to each others' sensitivities and concerns and progressively handle the outstanding issues in a positive attitude" and Beijing assured greater access to Indian goods and $20-billion investment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a media address after talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, suggested that clarifications on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) "would be of use" in solving the festering border question and it should be restarted again.

Following this, PM Modi tweeted: "We also had good discussions on regional and international issues. A peaceful & stable neighbourhood is in everyone's interest."

"I have suggested that the clarifications on the LAC will be of lot of use, and should be started again. It was stopped for some years," Modi said.

Modi's comments come amid reports that hundreds of Chinese troops have intruded into the Chumar sector in Ladakh, the second instance this week.

In reply, Chinese President reiterated his country's position that the boundary question is "left over from history" and both sides have made progress in maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

Referring to the latest incursion by hundreds of Chinese troops in Chumar in Ladakh, Xi said: "Since the boundary is yet to be demarcated, sometimes there could be instances (of transgressions) and both sides are fully capable to manage to resolve the issues through border-related mechanism so that such incidents have little impact on ties."

He said China would work with "friendly determination" with India to settle the boundary question at an early date and for peace and tranquillity on the border.

He said both are important neighbours and have "some outstanding issues" but both should work actively and seriously together to handle them and seek amicable relations with each other.

New Chapter In India-China Economic Ties

PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping charted a new chapter in India-China economic ties with New Delhi promising to roll out red carpet for Chinese firms in return for investment.

With economic relations topping the agenda for the talks between the two leaders here, the prime minister said he was particularly happy that China has agreed to set up two industrial parks in India and look at how the issue of trade deficit can be addressed.

Also Read: India, China development central to Asia's prosperity: Xi Jinping

"I raised the issue of trade imbalance between our countries. I also urged President Xi to give our companies better market access and investment opportunities in China," Modi said after his talks with Xi, who is on a three-day official visit to India since Wednesday.

"The Chinese president assured that he will take concrete steps in this regard."

India-China bilateral merchandise trade stood at $65.88 billion in 2013. While India’s exports to China were valued at $14.50 billion, its imports from China were much larger at $51.37 billion, resulting in a large trade deficit.

Modi, while delivering his statement before the media after the talks at Hyderabad House here, said India and China have much scope to increase economic cooperation, as it was way below the potential.

President Xi reciprocated what Modi said. "China and India will act as twin engines in spearheading economic growth in the region," the Chinese president said. "China will invest $20 billion in India in five years," he added.

"We will also align our strategy to strengthen rail infrastructure in India."

The prime minister said he was pleased with the inking of agreements between the two sides for two Chinese industrial parks in India and Beijing's commitment to invest around $20 billion in India over the next five years.

"I invited Chinese investments in infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. I'm glad two Chinese industrial parks will be built in India," he said. "Also, the five-year economic and trade development plan is an important step."

Speaking at an event hosted by the Indian Council for World Affairs later, the Chinese president said he agreed with the Indian prime minister's remarks to him earlier in the day that the two countries were two bodies with one soul.

"These words reveal the connection between us," Xi said.

He also praised Modi for his stewardship of India and said the country was in good hands under his leadership. "Both Prime Minister Modi and I have agreed to forge much closer ties between our two countries for development," Xi added.

Among the agreements signed between India and China Thursday, those on economic matters included cooperation in railways, space and culture, easy customs norms, launch of two Chinese industrial parks and $20-billion Chinese investments in India over five years.

Coinciding with the Chinese president's visit, Tibetans in the capital held vociferous protests demanding freedom for Tibet. The protests were held as Modi and Xi were holding talks at Hyderabad House.

With Agency Inputs

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