Modi talks tough but sets ambitious agenda for China ties

Prime minister in China raises border issue and sees greater people to people contact

GN Bureau | May 15, 2015


#narendra modi   #china   #india   #xi   #li   #border issue  


Talks were candid and outlook was ambitious. Prime minister Narendra Modi was candid in his official talks with the Chinese leaders as he touched border issue while setting an ambitious agenda for bilateral relations between India and China, who constitute almost one third of world's population.

 
Modi said on Friday that he had candid, constructive and friendly talks with the Chinese leadership and asked them to take a long-term and strategic view of India-China bilateral relations. 
 
Addressing media after his talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, Modi said bilateral cooperation was a very important part of his talks and he stressed the need for strengthening mutual trust and confidence while seeking solutions to outstanding issues. 
 
"Our conversations were candid, constructive and friendly. We covered all issues, including those that trouble smooth development of our relations," Modi said at the joint press interaction here along with Li after the talks held at the Great Hall of People. 
 
"We have set a high-level of ambition for our economic partnership. We see enormous bilateral opportunities and many similar challenges, like urbanisation," he said. 
 
Noting that India-China relationship has been complex in recent decades, Modi said the two countries have a historic responsibility to turn this relationship into a source of strength for each other and a force of good for the world. On the vexed boundary question, Modi said the two sides agreed to continue to explore a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution. "We both reiterated our strong commitment to make all efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border region," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said during his talks with Li, he also reiterated the importance of clarification of Line of Actual Control. China claims the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 km mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 km, especially the Aksai Chin area ceded to China by Pakistan.
 
"We are committed to set a new direction between the two largest Asian countries. I believe that my discussions with President Xi and Premier Li have advanced our relationship in that direction," Modi said. He stressed the need for strengthening mutual trust and confidence while seeking solutions to outstanding issues.
 
Li acknowledged that there were differences between the two sides on the border issue and said the two countries need to uphold peace and tranquillity. "We do not deny that there are some disagreements between us but there is a mechanism and sufficient political maturity to address them," he said. "We stand ready to work with India to bring China-India relations to new heights," he said, adding both the countries need to seize the opportunities to play a bigger role in Asia and beyond. Li said China and India are two important countries for the establishment of a multi-polar world.
 
Underlining that Modi's visit has brought about many pragmatic results ranging from space to maritime setup, Li said China stands ready to enhance cooperation with India and also is ready to take steps to balance our trade.
 
The two sides signed a record 24 agreements covering railways, mining, outer space, earthquake science and engineering, tourism, sister-cities and establishment of consulates in Chengdu and Chennai.
 
Modi said that an area of high priority for the two countries is people-to-people contacts. 
 
"We have decided to take the relationship out of the narrow confines of governments in the national capitals to states, cities and our people," he said. 
 
"This is the Year of India in China; the next one will be the Year of China in India. This will expand tourism between our two countries," he added. 
 
Modi said that for the first time, India has launched a State and Provincial Leaders' Forum with any country. '
 
"We are establishing a Centre for Gandhian and Indian Studies in Shanghai, a Yoga College in Kunming and a bilateral Think-Tanks Forum," he said. 
 
"This has been a very productive and positive visit," Modi said. 

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