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China and India agree to improve ties between the two countries
New Delhi, DEC 17 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 18 Dec. 2010 12:03 AM IST
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Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh have agreed to work on improving ties between the two Asian giants. The two leaders met on Thursday, the second day of Wen’s three-day state visit to India. Wen said: “I hope that this visit will promote the deepening of mutual trust and cooperation between our two countries, and enable us to take our ties forward in creating peace and prosperity.”
Both sides have opened up a hotline for their leaders to have regular consultations and they have also resolved to end their border dispute through dialogue. Trade is the cornerstone of India-China relations and the two countries want to see it double - to US$100 billion in the next five years. The Indian premier said: “The socio-economic transformation of India and China has opened up new opportunities for progress in our relations towards all fields.”
During the Chinese premier’s visit, more than 50 agreements were signed in areas that ranged from banking, to green technology, water resource management and infrastructure. A joint Chief Executive Officers’ forum was also set up to make recommendations on investment opportunities.
Anand Sharma, Indian Trade and Commerce Minister, said: “The captains of the industry who have come here should look forward to collaborations, to joint ventures with India. We would be welcoming of Chinese investments in manufacturing and in building India’s infrastructure.”
India is concerned about its growing trade imbalance with China, which is expected to widen to US$24 billion this year. It is asking Beijing for more access into the China’s market for its goods and services, especially pharmaceuticals and IT services.
Manoranjan Mohanti, chairperson, Institute of Chinese Studies, said: “China is slowly opening up. One can understand that China wants to develop its IT and software. Hardware, it is already developing very fast.
But they should realise that India is ahead of China in IT and software and if India can export more and they can collaborate in both the countries, then both will gain.”
And as trade was the main focus of the visit, many were disappointed that China made no mention of the Mumbai attacks in the joint statement, or the need for Pakistan to act against terror groups, said to be operating from its soil.
Nirupama Rao, Indian Foreign Secretary, said: “The need is very much there for China to look at the real concerns that India has and the fact that it is only when terrorism is properly addressed and the forces of terrorism are defeated that we will have a stable region. And that affects China also.” Despite ongoing border disputes, both sides are making efforts to intensify contact.
China-India row over Kashmir escalates
India has refused to reaffirm its support for Beijing’s sovereignty over Tibet and Taiwan in a growing diplomatic row over Kashmir which experts fear could fuel military tensions between Asia’s largest powers.
The dispute intensified during Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to New Delhi this week, when a joint communiqué omitted India’s traditional support for the ‘One China’ policy - the claim that China and Taiwan are a single country. The communiqué also made no reference to India’s past acceptance that Tibet is a part of China. Indian officials had hoped Wen’s visit would help reduce the trade imbalance between the Asian rivals and soften Beijing’s increasing assertiveness over disputed territories along their frontiers in Kashmir and Tawang district in India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. China has angered the Indian government by insisting that all visitors from Kashmir have their visa stamped on a separate sheet - indicating it does not recognise Indian sovereignty - and launching strong attacks on the Dalai Lama and Manmohan Singh or visiting Arunachal Pradesh during last year’s election campaign.

 
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