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Chinese envoy moots ‘friendship treaty’, Free Trade Agreement with India

Describing the twin proposals as “ambitious”, Luo said the time is ripe for the two countries to reap some “early harvest” benefits in resolving their decades-old vexed border issue.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2017 22:32 IST
China’s Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui suggested a bilateral “Friendship and Cooperation Treaty” along with a Free Trade Agreement to comprehensively boost relations between the two Asian giants .
China’s Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui suggested a bilateral “Friendship and Cooperation Treaty” along with a Free Trade Agreement to comprehensively boost relations between the two Asian giants .(AP Photo)

Seeking closer ties with India, China on Tuesday suggested a bilateral “Friendship and Cooperation Treaty” along with a Free Trade Agreement to comprehensively boost relations between the two Asian giants who are locked in a long-standing border dispute.

Luo Zhaohui, China’s Ambassador to India, while mooting the “Friendship and Cooperation Treaty” and FTA proposals, termed differences between New Delhi and Beijing over certain issues as matters “within a family”, and sounded optimistic about the future of bilateral ties.

Describing the twin proposals as “ambitious”, Luo said the time is ripe for the two countries to reap some “early harvest” benefits in resolving their decades-old vexed border issue.

The envoy maintained India and China should join hands in the latter’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative aimed at building super-modern economic and infrastructural connectivities in South Asia.

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India’s ‘Act East’ policy would get a fillip if New Delhi joined the ambitious initiative, the diplomat added.

Luo was speaking at a function organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Mumbai at the newly established Ji Xianlin Centre for India-China Studies at the University of Mumbai in suburban Kalina.

On his first official visit to Mumbai, Ambassador Luo said, “India is my second home. I joined foreign service because of my affection for India.”

“Beyond connectivity projects, our two countries should also cooperate to promote cultural exchanges, cooperation in education, and people-to-people contacts under the One Belt One Road framework.”

Luo described the current differences between India and China on certain issues as matters “within a family”, adding, “Even members of a family have some differences sometimes. I am very optimistic about the future of our relations.”

Sudheendra Kulkarni, Chairman, ORF Mumbai, said India- China relations should be guided by their profound civilisational wisdom.

“India, China and Pakistan should forge a friendly relationship, and resolve differences peacefully, which is critical for changing the destiny of South Asia,” Kulkarni said.