Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, making his first foreign visit since taking office, said that Beijing was determined to build up trust with New Delhi as he and a team of ministers signed eight agreements to enhance cooperation in a range of areas including trade, culture and water resources.
His host, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also stressed he regarded a good bilateral relationship as crucial to the wider region’s development.It is to be noted here that Li’s visit comes after a reports of Chinese intrusion along remote Himalayan region came last month.
New Delhi accused Chinese troops of intruding nearly 19km into Indian-claimed territory, triggering a three-week standoff that was resolved when troops from both sides pulled back.
The Line of Actual Control between the countries has never been formally demarcated, although they have signed accords to maintain peace since the border region saw a brief Indo-Chinese war in 1962.
Resolution of Border Issue
Singh said there was now a mutual desire to finally resolve the dispute and that a joint working group would be established to reach a lasting agreement.
“We agreed that our special representatives will meet soon to continue discussions seeking an early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement,” Singh said after talks with Li.
“Peace and tranquility on our border has to be preserved,” the Indian leader added at a joint news conference in New Delhi. Li said the border dispute was a historical hangover and that there was a desire on both sides to overcome it.
“We have established the principles for settling the question,” Li said. “Both sides believe we need to improve the border mechanisms that have been put into place and make them more efficient.. and appropriately resolve our differences.
“The two sides should continue to advance the negotiations on the boundary question and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border area,” he added. Speaking earlier, Li had said that good relations between India and China would “be a true blessing for Asia and the world”.
“World peace… cannot be a reality without strategic trust between India and China,” he added. To enhance trade, both the sides decided to set up three working groups under the Joint Economic Group.
The three groups are Services Trade Promotion Working Group, Economic and Trade Planning Cooperation Group and Trade Statistical Analysis Group.
The pact for setting up of the working groups was signed by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and his Chinese counterpart Gao Hucheng.
Trade between Countries
In 2012, bilateral trade between the two countries was $66 billion, a decline from over the $74 billion mark in 2011. The two countries have set a target of $100 billion by 2015 for bilateral trade.
As per an agreement signed by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, China will make further improvements to the existing facilities for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims including providing them with wireless sets and local SIM cards.
Another pact was signed between the two sides under which China will provide information of water level, discharge and rainfall twice a day from June 1st to October 15th each year in respect of three hydrological stations on the mainstream Brahmaputra river.
A separate Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the India’s Ministry of Water Resources and China’s National Development and Reform Commission for cooperation in the field of ensuring water efficient irrigation.
The MoU aims at enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of water efficient technology with applicability in the area of agriculture and exchange of best practices. Both the sides firmed another pact aimed at strengthening mutual cooperation in trade and safety of buffalo meat, fish products.
The pact will also provide for regulatory requirements with respect to safety, hygiene and quarantine of such products.
An MoU was also signed between the Ministry of Urban Development and National Development and Reform Commission of China on cooperation in the field of sewage treatment.
It will provide for enhancing cooperation in the field of sewage treatment and experience sharing in the areas of mutual interest in urban sectors.
Both sides also decided to coordinate translation and publication of 25 books of classic and contemporary works of each side over a period of five years into Chinese and Indian languages, respectively.
Another pact was signed between the Ministry of External Affairs and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate cooperation and linkages between cities and provinces of the two countries.