India and China have inked eight pacts to intensify their cooperation across a wide swathe of areas and agreed to fast-track the resolution of their boundary dispute that has remained the fount of off-and-on tensions along their un-demarcated frontier.
Meeting weeks after the diplomatic spat over Chinese troops’ intrusion into the Indian territory in Ladakh, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (May 20) underlined the need for maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas and agreed to find an early settlement of the boundary question.
In a joint media appearance with his Indian counterpart in New Delhi, Premier Li, who is on his maiden visit to India, leveraged the occasion to speak at once to a diverse audience in India, China and the world at large, using carefully chosen words to articulate Beijing’s views on bilateral, regional and global issues. In a realistic vein, he acknowledged that there were some issues in bilateral relations between India and China, but none that could not be resolved on the basis of strategic consensus and trust; that China stands to gain from India’s growth; and that world peace cannot become a reality without strategic trust between the two Asian neighbours.
Manmohan Singh aired some of India’s key concerns, saying the two sides need to take stock of “lessons learnt from the recent incident in the Western Sector.” The Indian prime minister underscored a mutual desire to resolve the boundary dispute. “While seeking an earlier resolution on boundary issue, both sides agreed that peace and tranquillity on border be preserved,” said Manmohan Singh. “We agreed that our special representatives will meet soon to continue discussions seeking an early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement. Peace and tranquillity on our border has to be preserved,” he stressed. Premier Li also stressed on the need to advance boundary negotiations and bolster mechanisms to maintain peace in the border area. “The two sides should continue to advance the negotiations on the boundary question and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border area,” he said. “We have established the principles for settling the question,” Li said. “Both sides believe we need to improve the border mechanisms that have been put into place and make them more efficient.. and appropriately resolve our differences.
Manmohan Singh also flagged India’s concerns on the sharing of waters of trans-border rivers and trade deficit. Briefing the media after the talks, India’s ambassador to China S. Jaishankar, who was part of the Indian delegation during the talks, said the Chinese response to India’s concerns was “sympathetic.” China’s plan to build three more hydropower dams across the cross-border Brahmaputra river, known in China as the Yarlung Tsangpo, have stirred apprehensions in India that the river water may be diverted from the Indian territory.
In the economic sphere, China and India, Asia’s second and third largest economies respectively, sought to impart fresh momentum to bilateral trade and investment. Specifically, India and China agreed to cooperate on pharmaceuticals, forge stronger links between Chinese enterprises and Indian IT industry, push Chinese investments in India’s infrastructure development, the establishment of industrial zones so as to provide platforms for cluster-type development of enterprises of the two countries, and connectivity in the BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) region.
Seeking to enhance strategic trust, both sides agreed to hold the next round of joint military training exercises later this year. For its part, the Chinese side supported India’s aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations, including in the Security Council.
India and China signed eight pacts after the talks between their leaders in New Delhi May 20.
India and China signed eight pacts after the talks. These included:
1. Protocol on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra to Tibet as part of which the Chinese side will make further improvements to the existing facilities on the route of the Indian pilgrims and assist in renting wireless sets and local SIM cards in order to maintain smooth communications.
2.Programmes under the three working groups under Joint Economic Group, namely Services Trade Promotion Working Group, Economic And Trade Planning Cooperation and Trade Statistical Analysis.
3. MoUs on mutual cooperation in trade and safety of buffalo meat, fishery products and feed and feed ingredients, and to meet the regulatory requirements with respect to safety, hygiene and quarantine.
4. MoU on enhancing cooperation in the field of sewage treatment and experience sharing in the areas of mutual interest in the urban sectors.
5. MoU on cooperation in the field of water efficient irrigation and enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of water efficient technology with applicability in the area of agriculture and exchange of best practices.
6. MoU for a Joint Working Group that will coordinate translation and publication of 25 books of classic and contemporary works of each side over a period of five years in to Chinese and Indian languages
7. MoU on provision of hydrological Information of the Brahmaputra river in flood season by China to India. China will provide India with information of water level, discharge and rainfall twice a day from June 1 to October 15 each year in respect of three hydrological stations on the mainstream Brahmaputra river.
8. Agreement to facilitate cooperation and linkages between Indian and Chinese cities and states and/or provinces. Both sides agreed to identify sister cities and sister states/provinces in India and China with a view to establishing relationships between them in areas of mutual interest for enhancing greater people to people contacts.