New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Text of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement to the media Monday on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India:
It is an honour for me to welcome Premier Li on his first official visit to India. It has been an immense pleasure to get to know him personally. I sincerely appreciate his reaching out to me on his first day in office and his choosing India as his first foreign destination as Premier.
Starting yesterday evening, Premier Li and I have had wide-ranging and candid discussions covering all matters of mutual interest and concern. I am delighted that there are so many areas of convergence between us and on which there is a great deal of meeting of minds. Most importantly, we agreed that the relationship between our two countries is of growing significance and essential for our peaceful development and sustained economic growth, as well as for stability and prosperity in our region and the world.
India and China are two civilizational neighbours and have lived in peace through the ages. We have had our differences in more recent times, but over the last 25 years, we have steadily built a mutually beneficial relationship. The basis for continued growth and expansion of our ties is peace and tranquility on our borders. While seeking an early resolution of the boundary question, Premier Li and I agreed that this must continue to be preserved.
We also took stock of lessons learnt from the recent incident in the Western Sector, when existing mechanisms proved their worth. We tasked our Special Representatives to consider further measures that may be needed to maintain peace and tranquility along the border. We agreed that our Special Representatives will meet soon to continue discussions, seeking early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement.
I also reiterated to Premier Li India’s concerns about the effects on lower riparians of activities in the upper reaches of our shared rivers. It would be useful for the mandate of our Expert Level Mechanism to be expanded to include information sharing on upstream development projects on these rivers. I am glad that we have agreed to expand cooperation on trans-border rivers. It would also be useful for India and China to collaborate on a better understanding of the stresses on our shared Himalayan ecosystem.
I shared with Premier Li my view that the rise of China and India is good for the world and that the world has enough space to accommodate the growth aspirations of both our peoples. To make this a reality, it is important to build understanding between our two peoples. We agreed that both sides must work to strengthen greater trust and confidence, which, in turn, will permit much larger co-operation.
Economic cooperation constitutes a very important part of our relationship and the growth potential of our two economies can provide the engine for greater cooperation.There are many ongoing areas of co-operation that we will carry forward as outlined in the Joint Statement.I conveyed to Premier Li our concerns about the trade deficit and sought increased market access to China for our exports and investments. I also invited increased Chinese involvement in the vast opportunities in our infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.
The rapid development of our economies has opened up new opportunities for economic cooperation bilaterally, in our region and globally, which our Strategic Economic Dialogue will identify andexplore. We have alsodiscussed the possibility of infrastructure development to link India’s North Eastern region with Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and other countries in the South East Asian region.
Premier Li and I also used the opportunity to review the rapidly evolving global political and economic situation and resolved to strengthen our strategic communication and dialogue on these issues. We also agreed that we have a shared interest in an open multilateral trading system and in combating protectionism.
Before I conclude, let me say again what a pleasure it has been to welcome Premier Li amongst us. I am sure that his leadership will go a long way in strengthening the relationship between our two countries and extending it to new frontiers. I look forward to seeing him again very soon and I have also accepted his gracious invitation to visit China at the earliest opportunity.