Terrorism and the global economic slowdown dominated talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on the margins of the ASEAN-India Summit where the PM pushed for the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the Malaysian capital on Saturday.
The development came on a day when India and China issued a rare joint statement on internal security in Beijing, marking out new areas for cooperation in meeting counter-terrorism challenges, exchanging information on terror groups and streamlining channels of communication on security-related issues.
The statement was issued after a round of meetings visiting home minister Rajnath Singh had with senior Communist Party of China officials responsible for China’s internal security.
Modi and Li met in Kuala Lumpur against the backdrop of the terror attacks in the French capital and the Malian capital of Bamako that killed more than 150 people. The focus of the recent G20 Summit in Turkey and the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur shifted from the usual economic issues to the threat posed by terrorist groups such as Islamic State.
Modi suggested to Li that India and China should come together to fight terrorism and increase strategic coordination, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told a news briefing after the meeting.
The PM said international terrorism had become the “biggest challenge” of the times following terror attacks in Ankara, Paris and Bamako.
China’s state-run media quoted Li as saying that Beijing “looks forward to strengthening coordination with New Delhi on multilateral affairs and jointly tackling terrorism and other global challenges”.
While reviewing the global situation with Li, Modi referred to the global economic slowdown and suggested India and China should work together to drive trade and growth. This area presents numerous opportunities for partnership, he added.
The two leaders also discussed climate change and reviewed preparations for the COP21 or 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, Swarup said.
Li said China and India – the world’s two largest developing countries – have “more common interests than divergences”. China and India boosting mutual trust and cooperation will achieve win-win results and contribute to the peace, development and prosperity of Asia, he said.
Modi also held talks over lunch with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Besides Abe’s upcoming visit to India for a summit, the two discussed economic partnership, maritime security and the “Make in India” initiative, especially opportunities for Japanese investment in the defence sector.