Xi Jinping meets Modi: India, China agree to launch ‘new era’ of ties


Shafaqna Pakistan:Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday that relations between their countries have attained stability and momentum in the past year, and that it should enable them to manage their differences and avoid disputes.

Modi said his summit with Chinese leader would launch a “new era” between the neighbours. He said both countries agreed to be sensitive to each other’s concerns as they held delegation-level talks, international media reported. Modi and Xi were meeting at a time of tensions over Beijing’s support for Pakistan in opposing New Delhi’s downgrading of Indian Occupied Kashmir’s semi-autonomy and continuing restrictions in the disputed region. Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters that “this issue was not raised and discussed,” but that Xi apprised Modi of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing earlier in the week. “India-China relations are not predicated to a single issue,” Gokhale said, adding that the latest developments in Kashmir were an “internal matter” of India.

Without going into details, Xi said in his opening remarks at the delegation-level talks that he had taken part in candid and in-depth discussions with Modi on various issues since his arrival Friday. Gokhale said the two countries decided to set up a group at the finance ministers’ level to discuss trade and investment issues, especially India facing a whopping $63 billion trade deficit with China.

According to India’s Commerce Ministry, India’s exports to China amounted to $13.33 billion in the 2018 financial year, compared with imports of $76.38 billion. Xi and Modi met over dinner for more than two hours on Friday after the Indian prime minister took the Chinese president around an ancient temple and some other monuments that are part of Unesco’s world heritage sites in Mamallapuram. Besides emphasising the expansion of trade and investment, Modi and Xi resolved to work together in facing the challenges of radicalisation and terrorism, Gokhale said. There was an acknowledgement that both India and China were “very complex and very diverse countries,” and that both will work together so that radicalisation and terrorism, which are common enemies, does not affect their multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies, Gokhale said. He did not give details.

Xi had arrived in India two days after hosting Prime Minister Khan in Beijing. A meeting between Xi and Modi in Wuhan, China, in April 2018 was preceded by tensions caused by a 10-week standoff between their countries’ armed forces on the Bhutan border. China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, while India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (15,000 square miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin Plateau in the western Himalayas. Officials have met at least 20 times to discuss the competing border claims without making significant progress. India and China fought a border war in 1962.

India also is concerned about China’s moves to build strategic and economic ties with its neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Maldives. Xi was scheduled to visit Nepal after India.