India says boundary issue will be discussed during Xi's visit

  • Jayanth Jacob and Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Beijing
  • Updated: Sep 16, 2014 00:41 IST

India and China are unlikely to play up differences over their disputed border and will instead focus on boosting economic ties to give a new direction to relations between two of Asia’s largest economies during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit beginning September 17.

China is likely to pledge to invest billions of dollars in India’s infrastructure, including its rail network as part of an expected pact that will pave the way for Chinese participation in new rail tracks and modern stations.

Read: India, China to talk investment in infra, energy

The efforts to ramp up commercial ties depend on keeping in check tensions over their disputed border which have has flared anew in recent years, after India’s loss in the 1962 war. “The two countries have maintained the momentum of negotiation on boundary issues and safeguarded peace and tranquility in the border areas,” assistant foreign minister Liu Jianchao told reporters in a briefing about Xi’s visit. “In recent years, China-India relations have maintained a momentum of sound development. The bilateral high-level exchanges are frequent, the strategic mutual trust is enhanced increasingly, and the practical cooperation is deepened continuously,” Liu said.

Bilateral trade between India and China is worth over $65 billion and is heavily in favour of China.

While big investments by China will boost ties, the visit will also be high on symbolism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive Xi at his hotel in Ahmedabad and host a private dinner for the leader as New Delhi signs pacts with a foreign country outside the national capital for the first time. Modi said he was sure the visit will strengthen ties between India and China, which share a strong bond of Buddhism. The PM posted slides depicting Gujarat’s rich Buddhist heritageon Twitter ahead of Xi’s visit.

“The place where I was born, Vadnagar too has a rich Buddhist influence including a monastery,” Modi tweeted.

Read: India and China capable of resolving border issue through dialogue

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