Beijing: The vexed India-China boundary issue failed to see much progress as both sides reiterated their position to seek “a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution as early as possible” after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Premier Li Keqiang here on Friday that saw both countries ink 24 agreements, including to boost people-to-people connect.
Modi, who held one-on-one and later delegation level talks with Li here, said he had held candid, constructive and friendly talks with the Chinese leadership that covered all issues, including “those that trouble smooth development of relations”. On Thursday, Modi held summit level talks with President Xi Jinping in Xi’an during which all issues were discussed.
Modi said he had “stressed the need for China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back from realizing full potential of our partnership” and that Beijing should “take a strategic and long term view of our relations. I found the Chinese leadership responsive”.
Modi said both sides reiterated their “strong commitment to make all efforts to maintain peace and tranquility in the border region”.
“I found sensitivity to our concerns on this issue and interest in further intensifying confidence building measures. I also reiterated the importance of clarification of Line of Actual Control in this regard,” said Modi.
He said had sought “tangible progress” on issues relating to visa policy and trans-border rivers and that he had discussed “some of our regional concerns”.
The joint statement issued said that an early settlement of the boundary question should be pursued as a strategic objective and that both countries are “determined to actively seek a political settlement” of the issue.
Both sides noted the progress in talks by the special representatives on the border issue and “reaffirmed the commitment to abide by the three-stage process for the settlement of the boundary question, and continuously push forward negotiation on the framework for a boundary settlement based on the outcomes and common understanding achieved so far.
They said their differences “should not be allowed to come in the way of continued development of bilateral relations” and agreed to expand the exchanges between the border commanders, and establish border personnel meeting points in all sectors of the India-China border areas.
The statement said that India-China ties “are poised to play a defining role in the 21st Century in Asia and indeed, globally” and that both “agreed that the process of the two countries pursuing their respective national developmental goals and security interests must unfold in a mutually supportive manner with both showing mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations”.
On bilateral trade, both agreed to take necessary measures to remove impediments, facilitate greater market access to each other’s economies and also resolved to take measures to alleviate the skewed bilateral trade.
The two sides inked agreements on setting up provincial partnership between Karnataka and Sichuan and sister-city relationships between Aurangabad-Dunhuang, Chennai-Chongqing and Hyderabad-Qingdao.
Modi said both President Xi and Premier Li “were very receptive to the specific concerns I had raised on our growing trade deficit. We look forward to early impact on the ground”.
He said their decision to open consulates in Chengdu and Chennai reflects the growing mutual confidence and shared commitment to expand their bilateral ties.
Later, inaugurating the first India-China Forum of State and Provincial Leaders here, Modi said that greater cooperation between India and China at the state and provincial level would help translate the vision of enhancing cooperation into reality besides promoting greater people-to-people contacts.
He described the forum as “a new vehicle for advancing cooperation between our two countries”.
Modi said Chinese President Xi Jinping has spoken in terms of $20 billion of Chinese investments in India over the next five years during his visit to India last year.
“President spoke of 20 billion dollars of Chinese investments over the next five years. Some of the business agreements will take shape in Shanghai tomorrow (Saturday),” he said.
On Thursday, Modi and Xi held “extremely productive” summit level talks during which the border issue, the widening trade imbalance and “strengthening trust” were high on the agenda.
Modi arrived in Beijing late Thursday on the second leg of his visit and tweeted his “special thanks” to Xi for an “extremely productive meeting” earlier in the day in Xi’an.