Top diplomats of India and China today held the sixth round of Strategic Dialogue here, reviewing the status of bilateral relations and exploring new initiatives to deepen the emerging ties.
‘India, China not competitors’
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh co-chaired the talks with her Chinese counterpart Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.
Ahead of the talks, officials said the two sides will review the entire range of bilateral relations including plans for leadership-level visits in the second half of this Year of India-China Friendly Exchanges.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said earlier that the two sides will have in-depth exchanges on bilateral relations, high level exchanges, practical cooperation, international and regional issues of mutual concern.
Singh will call on Foreign Minister Wang Yi tonight.
A host of issues including mutual concerns over stability in Afghanistan in the backdrop of the US plans to withdraw its troops from there besides India's over $35 billion trade deficit with China was expected to figure in the dialogue.
Like India, China too is concerned over the return of Taliban and Al-Qaeda which could have a destabilising effect on its Muslim Uygur Xinjiang province which is experiencing a spat of terrorist attacks.
India was expected to flag its concerns once again on USD 35 billion annual trade deficit and see major opening for IT and Pharmaceutical products in Chinese markets besides investments from China. Singh along with her Chinese interlocutors was also expected to finalise plans to hold the year long Glimpses of India festival all over China.
The Indian Embassy here has drawn out an ambitious plan to hold events showcasing India's cultural prowess besides business and investment opportunities as part of year of friendly exchanges initiative being observed this year.
The dialogue was held amid the general elections in India and Chinese official media highlighted the pre-poll surveys projecting a new government with the likelihood of the opposition BJP taking over power. Chinese officials say BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is a known face in Beijing as he had visited China twice scouting for investments for Gujarat, which has bagged big Chinese investments.