India, China sign 24 agreements worth US$ 10 billion
The Dollar Business Bureau Setting “high level of ambition” for economic partnership, India and China on Friday signed 24 agreements worth US$ 10 billion. The agreements related to cooperation in railways, maritime development and other sectors were signed after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. Setting up a joint think-tank forum is also one of the key agreements signed between the two countries. Both the countries have agreed to remove impediments to bilateral trade and investment, facilitate greater market access to each other’s economies, and support local governments to strengthen trade and investment exchanges, a joint statement released by the two governments said. “We have set a high level of ambition for our economic partnership. We see enormous bilateral opportunities and many similar challenges, like urbanization. We are pleased with the progress on the commitments from the summit last September. This includes cooperation in the Railways, where we have identified specific projects, and the two Chinese industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharashtra,” Modi said in a joint statement after the meeting in Beijing. The two countries have agreed to utilise their potential in sectors of pharmaceuticals, IT services, tourism, textiles and agro-products. Describing the India-China relationship as the most important strategic partnerships, Modi said that the re-emergence of India and China and their relationship will have a profound impact on the two countries and the course of this century. “Our relationship has been complex in recent decades. But, we have a historic responsibility to turn this relationship into a source of strength for each other and a force of good for the world,” he said. Modi said China was very supportive about its increased participation in “Make in India” mission and infrastructure sector. The Indian prime minister is expected to meet a group of CEOs in Shanghai on Saturday. “In Shanghai tomorrow, we will see over twenty ventures in the private sector take concrete shape,” the prime minister said. The Indian prime minister also expressed concern over his country’s growing trade deficit with Chinese leaders and both sides have agreed to set up a high-level task force to develop a strategic roadmap to expand economic relations. Bilateral trade between India and China has crossed $72 billion in 2014-15. Chinese imports have increased against Indian exports resulting in a deficit of US$ 48 billion last year, which is more than four times India’s total exports to China. The task-force will cover a broad range of areas including infrastructure, IT, pharma, agriculture and manufacturing. In an effort to take the bilateral relationship to the level of states, cities and people, India also launched a State and Provincial Leaders' Forum with China. The chief ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra and governors and mayors of six other states took part in the first meeting of the forum held on Friday. “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,” the prime minister said. On border issues between India and China, Modi said that both the sides are committed to strengthen mutual trust and confidence and tackle differences with maturity. “On the boundary question, we agreed that we continue to explore a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution. We both reiterated our strong commitment to make all efforts to maintain peace and tranquility in the border region,” Modi said in the joint statement.
May 15, 2015 | 2:53 pm IST.