The meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on Thursday turned out to be fruitful, with both sides deciding to build on convergences while addressing differences, chalking out an ambitious trade map and putting in place a mechanism to boost bilateral ties.
The sides operationalised the hotline between the two PMs and agreed that the foreign ministers will meet every year. Singh’s likely visit to Beijing next year is expected to give a further impetus to the ties.
The establishment of a CEOs’ forum, a strategic dialogue to enhance economic cooperation, and Beijing positive approach towards addressing India’s concerns over the trade imbalance, were the key achievements on the economic front.
India and China signed six pacts, including one in the field of green technology. The two sides also signed an MoU each on exchange of hydrological data of common rivers, media and cultural exchanges.
Two pacts were signed in the banking sector — an MoU each between the RBI and Chinese Bank Regulatory Commission and EXIM Bank of India and Chinese Development Bank.
Wen hoped his visit would widen and deepen the bilateral relationship and lead to the forging of “a strategic consensus” on a wide range of issues. “With our joint efforts, we will be able to take our friendship and cooperation to a higher level in the 21st century,” the Chinese premier said at Rashtrapati Bhavan where he was accorded a ceremonial reception.
“The inter-dependence of nations provides both the opportunity and the obligation for India and China to cooperate together to meet the challenges facing the international community,” Singh said at a banquet in Wen’s honour. “The fact is that when India and China, representing more than two-and-half billion people, speak in one voice, the world listens,” Singh said.
The joint statement said both neighbours have a shared interest in the stability, prosperity and security of the region. “The two sides believed that as members of the Asian family, stronger neighbourly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and China will help foster a peaceful and stable regional environment that promotes equality, mutual trust and mutual respect,” the statement said.
India and China also expressed their commitment to assisting Afghanistan to become a peaceful, stable and prosperous nation. The two sides emphasised the importance of a coherent and united international commitment to Afghan-led initiatives.