China, India sign border cooperation agreement

October 23, 2013 | By | Reply More

Oct 23, – The accord followed a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also had trade ties on the agenda as India seeks to gain greater access to Chinese markets and readjust a trade balance tilted heavily toward China.

li-keqiang-manmohan-singh- hromediaChina and India sounded a new optimistic tone in their relationship Wednesday as they signed an agreement to boost meetings between their militaries to avoid any repeat of a tense standoff this year along their disputed Himalayan border.

The two sides agreed to boost communication about border maneuvers, hold periodic meetings at designated crossing points, and have patrols refrain from any provocations. They agreed patrols should not follow or “tail” patrols of the other side in contested areas.

“I am sure it will help to maintain peace, tranquility and stability in our border areas,” Li said of the accord. Li, who said the meeting injected “new vitality” into China-India relations, said the two sides also agreed to hold joint counter-terrorism training in southwest China at an early date, strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs and work together to tackle terrorism.

Another accord signed by the countries enables a Chinese power equipment service center in India, and Li said China stood ready to help India with railway construction. The two sides also are exploring a trade corridor, said Singh, who expressed concern about the countries’ “unsustainable trade balance.”

India ran a $39 billion trade deficit with China over the last fiscal year. With growing economies and a combined population of 2.5 billion, the two neighbors have set a target of $100 billion in bilateral trade by 2015, up from $61.5 billion last year.

“First and foremost we agreed that the prosperity and progress of 2.5 billion Indian and Chinese people would be a major factor of Asian resurgence and global prosperity and stability,” said Singh, who added that the sides had “candid and constructive discussion” on regional and global issues.

“This is one of the promising developments in our relationship,” Singh said. Relations between the nations are overshadowed by a decades-old border dispute over which they fought a brief but bloody war in 1962. More than a dozen rounds of talks have failed to resolve the issue, and the two sides had a three-week standoff at their frontier earlier this year.

India said that Chinese soldiers launched incursions several kilometers (miles) across the Line of Actual Control at the Himalayan frontier between the sides in May, though China denied setting foot anywhere but on Chinese territory.

China claims around 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of land in India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, while India says China is occupying 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas.

They also face other tensions. China is a longtime ally and weapons supplier to Pakistan, India’s bitter rival, and has been building strong ties with Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, feeding Indian fears of encirclement. China, meanwhile, is wary of India’s growing ties with the United States.

Ashwin Kaja, a lawyer leading an initiative to establish a China-India institute at Beijing’s Renmin University and Jindal University in Sonipat, India, said Wednesday’s agreements and statements signaled a more positive tone in China-India relations.

“In the last few years the relationship between the two countries has run into some turbulent times,” he said, adding that measures to “start rebuilding trust and cooperation are very important.”

 

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Category: International

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