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China and India are partners,not rivals: Wen Jiabao

China has mooted free trade agreement but India fears huge trade imbalance to Indian industry.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi |
December 15, 2010 2:50:59 pm

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday said there is enough space for India and China to develop and prosper.

“China and India are partners for cooperation and not rivals in competition. There is enough space in the world for the development of both China and India and there are enough areas for us to cooperate,” he said addressing industry leaders of the two countries at a meeting organised by the apex chambers in New Delhi.

He said some people described China and India as economic competitors and likened them to a dragon and an elephant.

“I don’t agree with such a view and I don’t think business people agree either,” Mr. Wen said.

He said both countries stand to gain from economic cooperation. With a combined population of 2.5 billion,which accounts for two-fifth of the world’s population,he said,“We are both in the process of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation accompanied by fast and sustainable economic growth.”

Making out a case for liberalising bilateral trade (about USD 49 billion till January-October 2010),Wen said liberalisation of the markets hold huge potential for the domestic markets of the two countries.

“By opening markets to each other we will be most dynamic economies and can support each other in economic development,” he said.

Though China has mooted the idea of free trade agreement,India has not favourably responded considering a huge trade imbalance to Indian industry.

Wen Jiabao is on a three-day visit which he said was to promote friendship and expand cooperation between the two countries which have seen comprehensive and rapid progress.

Immediately after his arrival here on Wednesday afternoon,Wen said,”My current visit is aimed at promoting friendship,expanding cooperation,building on our past achievements and opening up new dimensions for mutual benefit and common development of the two countries.”

China and India are connected by mountains and rivers and enjoy a traditional friendship dating back more than 2,000 years,said Wen,adding that this year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two neighbours.

“China-India relations face major opportunities and enjoy broad prospects,” the Chinese premier said in a statement,adding that the friendship and cooperation between the two sides have seen comprehensive and rapid progress.

During his visit,Wen is expected to address some of India’s key concerns like those on stapled visas for Jammu and Kashmir residents,its bid for a permanent membership in UNSC and growing trade imbalance when he holds talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

The visit is taking place after elaborate rounds of talks at various levels starting with the candid meeting between Wen and Singh at Hanoi in October,creating high expectations to remove some of the major irritants like stapled visas,which created furore in India.

Accompanied by the biggest delegation ever of 400 businessmen,senior ministers and officials,Wen began with a meeting with the business community followed by a visit to the Tagore International School to interact with children who are learning the Chinese language.

This was followed by his presenting a China-India Friendship award and later attending a private dinner,hosted by Singh.

The Chinese Premier’s arrival was also marked by a protest by a group of Tibetans,who staged a demonstration shouting anti-China slogans and waving Tibetan flags. They also carried placards which read ‘Free Tibet Wen,Free Tibet Now’.

India is the first leg of Wen’s two-nation trip. He is also to pay an official visit to Pakistan on Friday.

Following are details of the major business deals and announcements in focus during Wen’s visit.

* Chinese power equipment maker Shanghai Electric Group Co. in late October agreed to sell power equipment and related service contracts worth $8.29 billion to India’s Reliance Power over a 10-year period. A deal is expected to be signed during Wen’s visit.

Shanghai Electric has approved the contracts to sell 36 coal fired super critical thermal power generation equipment and mandatory spare parts.

* India’s Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) companies, which includes Reliance Power and Reliance Communications,will sew up about $3 billion in loans,mostly from Chinese banks.

Utility Reliance Power has secured loans worth 50 billion rupees ($1.1 billion) from a consortium of three Chinese banks and Standard Chartered for the Sasan power project in central India.

The letters for the financing agreement with the Chinese banks would be exchanged on Wednesday.

Reliance Communications,India’s second-biggest mobile phone operator and controlled by Anil Ambani,will sign an accord with the China Development Bank for a $1.9 billion,10-year loan.

* Chinese telecoms gear maker Huawei aims to invest more than $2 billion in India over the next five years in areas including expansion of its research and manufacturing capabilities in the country.

Huawei will build a new research and development campus in the southern tech hub Bangalore,adding to its existing facility in the country and increasing the number of engineers engaged in research to about 3,000 from 2,000 currently.

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