Modi, Xi bid to bury India and China's differences

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 12, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed at a summit on Saturday to set up a high-level group to tackle India's galloping trade deficit with the world's second-biggest economy, a top Indian diplomat said.

India and China had agreed that "it is important to support and strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system at a time when globally agreed trade practices and norms are being selectively questioned", the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a release.

Modi said the Wuhan summit had given "increased stability and fresh momentum to our relationship".

Narendra Modi has reiterated that differences should not escalate into disputes between India and China, adding that the two Asian giants have so far successfully implemented a vision adopted during the Wuhan Informal Summit.

Mamallapuram is a village in the Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India where the informal summit between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping is taking place.

The US has asked its allies not to use Huawei equipment, which it says China could exploit for spying.

It has been infuriated by China's backing for Pakistan, which controls a large chunk of Muslim-majority Kashmir. In 1962, a war between New Delhi and Beijing was sparked in the Kashmir region spilling into Ladakh, with conflict engulfing the Himalayan territory for a month. China's proposal for major infrastructure building in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as part of its Belt and Road programme has faced strong Indian opposition.

Today's meeting between Xi and Modi will take forward the spirit of the first day of the informal summit during which personal rapport between the two leaders becomes evident.

They did however agree to step up their efforts so "that the global community strengthens the framework against training, financing and supporting terrorist groups throughout the world", said the Indian statement.

India and China share a almost 4,000 km border, most of which is disputed.

The development assumed importance in the light of India repeatedly expressing concern about its trade deficit of more than $50 billion with China.

"Both of us have to work to ensure that this consensus is fully respected", Misri said, adding that preserving peace and tranquility on the borders is crucial for the stable development of bilateral relations.

On commerce, India and China are both facing a protectionist United States and want greater access to each other's markets.

India has made considerable effort to ease travel and visa procedures for Chinese tourists, and the country is expecting more Chinese travelers, he said. Besides, balance should be maintained between trade in goods, services and investment.

India plans to run 5G trials soon and Huawei is expected to team up with Airtel and Vodafone for this.

In his opening remarks, Xi said he had a free and frank discussion with Modi and would pursue proposals the two leaders discussed to improve bilateral ties.

Mr Xi flew into the southern city of Chennai, from where Mr Modi was to take him on a tour of the nearby Shore Temple dating back to the seventh and eighth centuries, when regional kingdoms had direct ties with Chinese provinces.

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