Chinese premier says talks with India’s Modi “meet expectations,” 24 deals signed

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BEIJING, May 15 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said his talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met expectations on Friday.

“We just had in-depth talks and touched a wide range of topics, which we both expect to yield common ground and results. It is fair to say that we met expectations,” Li said after the talks with Modi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Modi said he was honored that Chinese President Xi Jinping gave him a warm welcome in Xi’an, capital city of Shaanxi Province and Xi’s hometown, on Thursday afternoon.

This is the first time Xi has welcomed a foreign leader to his hometown.

“President Xi’s welcome also touched the hearts of 1.25 billion Indian people,” Modi said.

“I discussed many issues with Premier Li, which will take our relations towards a positive direction. Our cooperation not only benefits the two countries, but also sends a positive signal to the world,” Modi said.

Li chose India for the first stop of his overseas trip since he took office.

China and India, as two biggest developing countries and emerging economies in Asia and the world, should not become competitors, but important cooperative partners, said Li during his talks with Modi.

“Our ties concern the welfare of 2.5 billion people, as well as the prosperity and development of the region and the world,” Li said.

“The two sides should look at bilateral relationship from an Asian and even a global perspective, and enhance mutual strategic trust, economic cooperation, and culture and people-to-people exchanges,” he added.

Politically, leaders of the two countries should maintain in close contact, enhance communication on major issues, and get hold of the general path of development of bilateral ties, said Li.

The two sides should make full use of their wisdom to deal with sensitive issues such as the border issue, maintain the negotiation momentum, and establish cooperation framework mechanism, he said.

“We don’t deny that there are differences between China and India, but our common interests go far beyond our differences,” Li said, adding the two sides have enough political wisdom to manage and deal with these differences, preventing it from affecting the general path of bilateral development ties.

While ensuring the peace and tranquility of the border, Li said the focus should be put on advancing bilateral strategic cooperation and common development, so as to realize the real “Asia Century”.

Economically, China and India should connect their development strategies, draw strengths from each other, and expedite cooperation in infrastructure, industrial capacity, and equipment, he said.

He called for stepping up the building of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor and promoting regional economic development.

“The two countries should enhance pragmatic cooperation in key areas such as railway and industrial parks, create flagship projects and push for dynamic trade balance between the two sides.

China is willing to participate in the building of India’s industrial corridor, and strengthen cooperation in technical skills training.

Li hoped India would create a sound investment environment for Chinese enterprises in India.

“The current trade volume between China and India is not big enough and not commensurate with the two countries’ power and market. This shows that we have plenty of room for future development,” he said.

The two sides should expand people-to-people exchanges and strengthen communication in technology, education, and tourism, so as to solidify the friendship between the two peoples, he said.

Li said China is willing to communicate and coordinate with India on global issues including global governance, international financial reform, climate change, and sustainable development, and jointly safeguard the legitimate rights of the two countries as well as other developing countries.

Modi said India views China as one of the most important strategic partners, because the revival of the two nations and the development of bilateral relations will have a significant impact on both countries and the world.

Although India-China relations were thought to be complicated over the past few decades, the two countries have historical obligations to advance their relations and turn it into a positive force of the world, he said.

“We are committed to setting the direction for the relations between the two largest nations in Asia,” he said.

Modi suggested that the two sides should jointly develop a framework and roadmap for deepening bilateral strategic cooperation, so as to lift their ties to a higher level.

The two economies are highly complementary, he said, urging the two sides to enhance policy coordination and beef up cooperation in urbanization, manufacturing, infrastructure, industrial park, renewable energy, finance and information industry.

He also suggested enhanced cooperation in culture, tourism, health and local issues, so as to promote mutual understanding and trust between the two peoples.

According to Modi, the two sides agreed to accommodate each other’s concern when pushing forward bilateral relations. They would strengthen mutual trust, manage the differences and seek solutions for pending issues with a mature attitude.

He said issues concerning visa policy and trans-border rivers have achieved substantial progress.

India supports China taking part in India’s manufacture and infrastructure projects, he said, voicing content over the implementation of cooperative projects in railway and industrial park construction.

Modi said he will witness the signing of 20 cooperative documents by private sectors of the two countries in Shanghai on Saturday.

The two sides also attached great importance to people-to-people exchanges.

Modi said India will set up a research center for Gandhi in Shanghai and a Yoga institute in Kunming, capital of Southwestern China’s Yunnan Province.

A China-India think tank forum will also be established, he said.

China will open a new route via the Himalayan Nathu La Pass for Indian pilgrims travelling to Tibet in June, and India appreciates the arrangement by China, said Modi.

During their talks, the two sides made positive comments on each other’s assistance to the quake-relief work in Nepal and agreed to strengthen cooperation on disaster mitigation and relief in underdeveloped regions.

They also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern, including climate change, regional connectivity and terrorism.

After the talks, Li and Modi witnessed the signing of 24 agreements and MOUs aimed at boosting cooperation in areas including railways, aerospace, mineral exploitation, marine science and vocational education.

The countries have decided to set up consulates in China’s Chengdu City and India’s Chennai City.

An action plan on deepening cooperation in railway has been signed by China’s National Railway Administration and India’s Ministry of Railways.

The two neighbors agreed to strengthen cooperation in marine science and technology, climate change and polar science. In addition, a five-year outline for cooperation in aerospace has been completed by authorities from the two countries.

Other agreements include strengthening exchanges in media, think tanks, education and tourism.

Four pairs of sister cities, provinces and states have been unveiled, including China’s Chongqing City and India’s Chennai City.

On Friday afternoon, the two prime ministers attended a cultural activity featuring taiji and yoga, typical of the two countries, in the Temple of Heaven in downtown Beijing, where more than 400 practitioners performed. Taiji and yoga seem different, but they have the same objective of harmony between heaven, people and the heart, and embody cultural inheritance, Li said.

He added that the activity showed the two countries’ common pursuit of a better life for the people and their resolution to promote stability and prosperity and to maintain lasting peace.

Modi said both yoga and taiji could help people make a balance between body, spirit and wisdom, while relaxing. Young people from the two countries conducting exchanges through the practise of yoga and taiji will promote their mutual understanding and better serve the development of bilateral ties.

The two prime ministers encouraged the performers to contribute to the exchange and spread of oriental traditional culture.

Later during their walk in the park, Li wished Modi’s tour in Shanghai a success and Modi again invited Li to visit India as soon as possible.

Modi’s three-day tour is his first China visit since he took office.

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