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India-China Foreign Ministers Talks
Jun 11, 2014

The entire gamut of bilateral ties including the contentious boundary issue was discussed during a cordial and substantive engagement between the foreign ministers of India and China in New Delhi. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met for three hours to talk about perennial bilateral issues that included the boundary dispute, incursions, issuance of stapled visas by China to certain category of Indians, construction of dams on Brahmaputra river and increased Chinese investments.

Sent to New Delhi by Chinese President Xi Jinping as his Special Envoy to meet with India new leadership, Wang Yi was effusive in his praise for the new government saying it had injected new vitality into an ancient civilization. The talks were described as "cordial, useful, productive and substantive".  "Even while there was a determination to add new content and substance to the relationship, there was an understanding that respect for the sensitivities and aspirations of each other was an essential for expansion of bilateral relations.

The two leaders discussed ways to increase Chinese investments in India through setting up of industrial parks, various infrastructure projects among others. There was also a discussion on how to address India's concern of huge trade deficit of nearly $40 billion. China is India's biggest trading partner with two-way trade standing close to $65 billion.

At the end of his two-day visit to India, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that he felt the winds of change in the new government and that the international community has high expectations of the new dispensation. He was confident that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that both India and China relations would achieve greater progress and modernisation.

The Chinese foreign minister also talked on the prickly issue of stapled-visas. He said that it was a concession on the part of the Chinese government to help local people in the eastern sector to travel in an area where there was a border dispute and many of the areas were also un-demarcated. He said that this would have no effect on the border talks and he disclosed that the framework for the settlement of an issue which is a historical legacy is at a crucial stage. The stapled visa is way out until the final settlement. It does not affect the border talks.

On the issue of trade deficit, another contentious issue from the Indian point of view, Wang Yi pointed out that China was willing to import more from India, and that the present India-China trade volume was much too small. He pointed out that the Chinese visitors to foreign countries were the largest anywhere in the world, but there were only 150,000 Chinese tourists who had come to India. He said that this number could easily go up to a million.

He pointed to the complementary nature of Chinese and Indian economies. He said that China was strong in infrastructure and manufacturing, while India's strengths were in software and services, and if the two countries came together then they could dominate world economy.


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