The threat of international 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 in the Malaysian capital on Saturday.
The two leaders met against the backdrop of devastating 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 the 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 Indian Prime Minister 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”.
During his interactions on the margins of the G20 Summit in Turkey, Modi had called for a united front against terrorism. “The need for a united global effort to combat terrorism has never been more urgent,” he had said.
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.
Modi expressed the hope that the COP21 would lead to a “comprehensive, balanced and equitable” outcome. Developed countries, he added, would have to provide technology and help with capacity-building to tackle climate change.
He also referred to his proposal for an international solar alliance of 122 solar-rich countries that will be launched with French support on November 30 and invited China to join the movement.
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.
Citing China’s “Made in China 2025” and “Internet Plus” drives and India’s “Make in India” and “Digital India” programmes, Li pointed out that the two countries have compatible development strategies and good prospects for cooperation.
China is ready to join hands with India to enhance cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure construction and financial services, Li said. China is also willing to work with India for “early harvests” in the construction of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, he added.
Modi also held talks over lunch with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Besides Abe’s upcoming visit to India for a summit, the two leaders discussed economic partnership, maritime security and the “Make in India” initiative, especially opportunities for Japanese investment in the defence sector.
In a major boost to the bilateral security cooperation, China and India agreed on Saturday to actively exchange intelligence on terror groups and their activities through a dedicated communication channel. A rare joint statement issued after talks between home minister Rajnath Singh and top Chinese leaders and security officials said: “Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in combating international terrorism through exchanging information on terrorist activities, terrorist groups and their linkages.”