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Joint group to up trade

A group of economists will draw up a plan for development of multi-faceted economic interaction.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2003 16:58 IST

In a bid to move economic cooperation to "greater heights", India and China have decided to set up a Joint Study Group of economists and officials to identify new areas and draw up a comprehensive plan for further development of a multi-faceted economic interaction.

"Our two governments have decided to make concerted efforts to move our economic cooperation to greater heights", Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said in a keynote address at a seminar on 'China-India Economic Cooperation and Development'.

He said during his meeting with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on Monday it was decided that "we should form a Joint Study Group of economists and officials from our two countries to review existing cooperation, to identify new areas of promise and to draw up a comprehensive perspective plan for the further development of a multi-faceted interaction."

The Prime Minister, on the third day of his six-day official visit to China, asked business and industry of both the countries to provide "meaningful inputs" for this initiative.

He said for rapid expansion of economic interactions between the two countries, it was very important to strengthen passenger and cargo transportation links, banking support structures and trade facilitation majors.

Lauding China's high economic growth and modernization drive, Vajpayee said his current visit has "truly been an eye-opener".

He said that the Indian business delegation accompanying him on his visit is among the largest that has travelled with him on his official visits abroad.

"This says something about the potential which Indian trade and industry circles see in economic cooperation with China," Vajpayee said.

The Prime Minister, who has visited China twice in the past, once as Foreign Minister in 1979 and then as a Member of Parliament in 1993, told the largely Chinese audience that he was confident that Beijing would achieve its ambitious plan to quadruple its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.

"China is today the world's fastest growing economy and is second largest in purchasing power parity. Your achievements in the economic transformation of your country are truly remarkable and I congratulate the Chinese government and people for them," Vajpayee said at the function.

External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley and his Chinese counterpart Lu Fuyuan were also present at the function.

Explaining India's own economic development plans, the Prime Minister said that though India lagged behind China, the Indian economy has also made impressive strides in the last decade or so.

"In the last 12 years, we have recorded an average annual growth of nearly six per cent. India is the world's fourth largest economy on purchasing power parity," he said at the meeting jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

"We can now say with some certainty that Indian private business and industry has come of age in a rapidly globalising world," Vajpayee said.

Turning to Sino-Indian economic ties, Vajpayee said though it was been "quite encouraging," the bilateral ties has risen from a relatively narrow base to reach the recent annual growth rate of 30 per cent.