Trade,border on table at PM-Hu meet

India also wants to engage with China for accessing the Central Asian countries.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: March 30, 2012 12:27 am

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday agreed to start a new dialogue on West Asia,Central Asia and Africa,sources said here.

The ongoing turmoil in West Asia has dominated the discussions between the leaders during the BRICS summit’s restricted sessions. New Delhi’s attempt is to engage with Beijing on “exchanging of notes” on the situation,especially in the context of Iran and Syria.

India also wants to engage with China for accessing the Central Asian countries. New Delhi is already in conversation with Beijing,as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,with a bulk of the Central Asian countries being part of the multilateral grouping. On Africa,with both India and China looking for opportunities in the resource-rich continent,sources say a conversation will be an engagement in the right direction.

During an hour-long meeting at Singh’s residence on Thursday evening,which was termed “friendly”,sources said the two leaders agreed that the ties between the two countries was one of the most important ones in the 21st century. They also discussed border issue,and both agreed that the current mechanism of Special Representative-level talks “should continue”. They reiterated that both sides must maintain peace along the India-China border.

During the meeting,Hu assured that China will allow Indian goods in its market and reduce trade imbalance between the two countries. They discussed possibility of Chinese investments in manufacturing sector.

Earlier in the day,Hu Jintao said,“We should enhance political mutual trust through dialogue and exchanges,fully accommodate each other’s major interests and concerns,set a good example of mutual respect and equal-footed consultation in the international community,and be good friends and good partners forever. On issues,where there is consensus,we should move forward with vigorous cooperation. And for those issues where there is currently no consensus,we should take incremental steps to build up conditions for cooperation.”

China appreciated “concrete” measures taken by India in ensuring safe and smooth holding of the summit. The Chinese government expressed regret over “troubles” created by the pro-Tibetan elements. “The Chinese side appreciates the effective and concrete measures taken by the Government of India in overcoming the disruptions and disturbances and in ensuring the safe and smooth holding of the summit meeting,” said Luo Zhaohui,DG of Department of Asian Affairs in Chinese government.

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