India-China stress on peace, boosting economic ties

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) India and China Monday stressed on maintaining peace and tranquility along their border and on boosting trade ties, including inviting Chinese firms to invest in India in infrastructure development and increasing banking and financial cooperation.

In a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, both sides reaffirmed that they view each other as “partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals or competitors”.

They said that “pending resolution of the boundary question, the two sides shall work together to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas in line with the previous agreements”.

The statement also “expressed satisfaction over the work done so far by Special Representatives of the two countries on the Boundary Question and encouraged them to push forward the process of negotiations and seek a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement”.

The statement also touched on bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy in line with their respective international commitments to ensure energy security.

Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in multilateral forums including United Nations, the statement said, adding that China “attaches great importance to India’s status in international affairs as a large developing country, understands and supports India’s aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations including in the Security Council”.

On boosting trade, the two sides said they would strive to realize a trade target of $100 billion by 2015 and agreed to take measures to address the issue of the trade imbalance.

“The Indian side welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in India and participate in India’s infrastructure development. Project contracting cooperation between the businesses of the two countries would be enhanced,” the statement said.

The first meeting of the India-China CEO’s Forum was held during Li’s visit. The prime ministers of both countries “look forward to the recommendations of the Forum to further enhance bilateral trade and investment”, it said.

To promote trade and connectivity across the border, the two sides agreed to consider strengthening border trade through Nathu La Pass. The Chinese side said it will provide better facilities to Indian pilgrims on the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, which the Indian side has appreciated.

The two sides also appreciated progress in promoting cooperation under the Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) Regional Forum.

The two sides are to consult the other countries on forming a Joint Study Group on strengthening connectivity in the BCIM region for closer economic, trade, and people-to-people linkages and to initiate development of a BCIM Economic Corridor.

The Indian side expressed appreciation to China for providing flood-season hydrological data and assistance in emergency management. The two sides are to further strengthen cooperation on trans-border rivers.

On Afghanistan, both agreed that the issue concerns regional security and stability. As two important countries in the region, they reiterated their support for an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” reconciliation process.

On bilateral relations, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further consolidate the Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and mutual sensitivities for each other concerns and aspirations.

Premier Li invited Manmohan Singh to visit China at a mutually convenient time and the latter accepted the invitation with pleasure. The dates of the visit will be decided through diplomatic channels, the statement said.

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