Delhi welcomes ‘fruitful’ summit with Beijing

Visiting Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi (L) shakes hands with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj during a meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. (AFP)

Visiting Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi (L) shakes hands with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj during a meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. (AFP)

NEW DELHI: India hailed talks with China on Sunday as a good step toward stronger ties in the first high-level meeting of the rival Asian giants since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Indian counterpart in New Delhi during a two-day visit to build relations with the right-wing Modi government which came to power last month on a pledge to revive the economy.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said talks between Wang and India Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on economic and other issues were “productive and substantive.”

“All issues of significance were raised and discussed in a frank and cordial manner,” Akbaruddin told reporters.

“India was a cradle of splendid ancient civilization, and I am glad to see this country gaining new vigor and vitality,” Wang was quoted as saying. “The international community, impressed by the great opportunities in India, is full of confidence in the future of the country.”

The talks focused on trade ties but also touched on a border dispute between the nuclear-armed neighbors that has soured relations for decades.

Wang is expected on Monday to meet Modi, who has extended olive branches to traditional rivals China and Pakistan since coming to office despite his hardline nationalist reputation.

Modi has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit later this year, an offer that Wang told Indian media had been accepted.

Wang told the Hindu newspaper he had travelled to the capital as a special envoy of Xi to “cement our existing friendship and explore further cooperation.”

“China is ready to work with our Indian friends for an even brighter future of our strategic and cooperative partnership,” Wang said in an interview with the newspaper published Sunday.

Given China’s dominance in the global economy, Modi is expected to court Beijing’s help in reviving India’s stalled economy.

China is India’s biggest trading partner with two-way commerce totalling close to $70 billion. But India’s trade deficit with China has soared to over $40 billion from just $1 billion in 2001-02, Indian figures show.

 

 

 

 



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