A fortnight after India overcame Chinese resistance to get a waiver for nuclear commerce from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), both countries today resolved to put that chapter behind and cooperate in sectors including civilian nuclear energy.
After a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon said the NSG episode is "behind us," and "China was part of the consensus at the NSG." "There could not have been a consensus without China" he said.
Menon said both leaders share an excellent personal rapport and it was apparent during the meeting. This was the seventh meeting between the Indian PM and the Chinese premier since 2004.
Jiabao had brought two copies of a Cambridge University book that has chapters by both the leaders – Jiabao on "inclusive development" and Singh on "inclusive globalisation."
"The PM and the premier exchanged autographed copies of the book," Menon said. "Both India and China have similar approaches towards development challenges," said Menon, citing climate change and international trade as two such areas.
Menon said both leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress of boundary discussions between the special representatives of the two countries. At the same time they also acknowledged that it is a "complicated issue," he said.
Menon said China and India would cooperate in civilian nuclear energy. Indian officials said this is more of a symbolic gesture given the fact that China itself is dependent on Russia for most of the technology. Singh and Jiabao also reviewed bilateral trade between the countries. The revised trade target of 60 billion dollars is likely to be met a year ahead of schedule, by 2009, said Menon.