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Indo-China Strategic Dialogue after 3 yrs; incursion to figure

The Dialogue, on the lines of Foreign Office Consultations, will also work on issues ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to China.



New Delhi: After a gap of nearly three years, India and China will hold their next round of Strategic Dialogue here next week during which the Indian side is expected to raise contentious issues of waters and border incursions by Chinese troops.

The fifth round of the Dialogue, to be co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhen, will be held on August 20 and will also review the progress on negotiations on Border Defence Cooperation Agreement.

This will be first interaction of Singh with senior Chinese officials on crucial bilateral issues. The last Strategic Dialogue was held in 2010.

The Dialogue, on the lines of Foreign Office Consultations, will also work on issues ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to China.

Singh is expected to travel to Beijing in October.

Apart from waters and border incursion issues, India would again convey its concerns over market access in sectors like IT and pharma and huge trade deficit in favour of China during the Dialogue.

India has been protesting Chinese dam constructions on River Brahmaputra (known as Tsangpo in China) and the issue has figured in the bilateral talks between India and China at various levels.

India and China do not have any water-sharing agreements, but instead have instituted a mechanism to exchange data on trans-border rivers through a working group including information on the measurement of flows.

India is pressing China to have either a water commission or an inter-governmental dialogue or a treaty to deal with water issues between the two countries, a proposal not agreed upon by China so far.

On trade front also there is a huge trade imbalance. By the end of 2011, India`s trade deficit was USD 27 billion, a figure that according to Chinese trade figures released in January 2013, expanded to USD 29 billion by 2012.

In the year 2000, trade between India and China was less than USD 3 billion. By 2012, it was USD 66 billion, a slight decline over the USD 74 billion in 2011.

The two countries have set a target of USD 100 billion by 2015 for bilateral trade. Indicative of efforts to put the India-China relationship on even keel, the meeting will also discuss ways of cooperation on global and regional issues like Afghanistan as well as forthcoming UN General Assembly among other matters.

The Strategic Dialogue comes barely days after the first India-China dialogue on central Asia that was held in Beijing this week during which the two sides discussed "regional security and counter-terrorism, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), energy security, development partnerships".

PTI

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