India, China adopt 10-step strategy to improve ties

Updated on Nov 22, 2006 03:40 AM IST

India and China are trying to downplay suggestions of rivalry, reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury. Have your say...

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None | ByNilova Roy Chaudhury, New Delhi

The Indian and Chinese foreign ministers will soon have a hotline between them which they can get on to at any point to quell any misunderstanding between the two countries.

Special representatives of both countries have been urged to move swiftly towards a resolution of the boundary dispute.

The two countries will also cooperate on building energy resources and increasing trans-border linkages, which will lead to greater people-to-people contact, making the border increasingly irrelevant. A Chinese consulate will be set up in Kolkata and an Indian one in Guangzhou. The volume of trade is set to double over the next four years.

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit is an affirmation of the maturing of India-China relations. There may not have been any ‘big-ticket’ agreements but the 13 MoUs signed on Tuesday will effectively expand every aspect of the India-China relationship.

It is also apparent that, as their economic muscle develops, the two countries are seeking to downplay any suggestion of rivalry between them.

The joint declaration issued on Tuesday emphasises that the relationship between India and China “is of global and strategic significance”. “There exist bright prospects for their common development,” the declaration adds, and “they are not rivals or competitors but are partners for mutual benefit”.

There was no bonhomie on display as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Hu faced the media, sphinx-like, at Hyderabad House after their meeting, each reading out his individual statement. The milieu was distinctly low-key, with no real warmth in evidence. It was all distinctly businesslike.

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