BEIJING: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his country and China have been successful in settling some differences between the two Asian giants, as New Delhi and Beijing move to introduce a new chapter in their ties.
Modi, who is in China on his first visit to the country since he took office less than a year ago, said he has made considerable progress in efforts to resolve the thorny issues with China, including a series of border disputes and the trade imbalance between the two countries.
Our conversations were candid, constructive and friendly. We covered all issues, including those that smooth the relations. I asked China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back on realizing the full potential of our partnership, Modi said after a Friday meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.
The Indian premier, who also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, described his negotiations in Beijing as promising, which, according to him, could set a new direction in ties between the two economic and political powerhouses in Asia.
India and China, the worlds most populous countries with a combined 2.6 billion people, have been engaged in a fierce economic and political rivalry. Modis visit to China, however, is seen as a sign of warming ties between the two states.
According to Modi, the Chinese officials have shown clear sensitivity about Indias growing trade deficit with China, which stood at USD 48 billion last year. He said the two sides have agreed to form a high-level body tasked with expanding economic relations in the fields of agriculture, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, information technology and manufacturing.
The Indian and Chinese prime ministers also oversaw the signing of 24 agreements to expedite their cooperation in various areas of interest. Two new consulates will also be opened in Indias Kolkata and Chinas Chengdu, increasing the level of diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Beijing.
The two sides have also agreed to take more confidence-building steps with regard to the disputed regions on the Himalayan border, Modi said.
India and China seem very unlikely to sign any agreement on the issue, which triggered a bloody war between the two in 1962. However, they could reach some sort of understanding in defining the lines of control to avoid potential confrontations in the area.
We both reiterated our strong commitment to make all efforts to maintain peace and tranquility in the border region, said Modi, adding that the two sides would continue their efforts to find a final resolution to the border issue.
Modi, Li try hand at “selfie” diplomacy
BEIJING: In a rare show of everyman charm from one of Chinas most elite politicians, Premier Li Keqiang appeared in a grinning selfie with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Modi, who is visiting China this week to boost economic ties and discuss a persistent border dispute, is known for being at ease with social media, including a large follower base on Twitter.
But such spontaneous displays online are rare for leaders in China, where discussion of politicians personal lives is taboo and details such as their exact birthdates are considered a state secret.
The selfie, which shows the leaders at a historical site smiling shoulder to shoulder, with Li squinting slightly in the sunlight, was posted on Modis Chinese microblog account. He spent the day in talks with Li during his three-day trip and is set to travel to the economic powerhouse of Shanghai on Saturday.
Modi set up an account on the microblogging site Weibo, Chinas answer to Twitter, ahead of his trip, prompting a flurry of mostly sceptical messages from the Chinese public.
Chinas leadership has experimented with more unscripted interactions in recent years. President Xi Jinping surprised residents near a popular Beijing shopping street when he took a stroll there last February.
He also astonished customers at a modest steamed bun shop by turning up, paying for his own food and making small talk with other patrons.
Many Weibo users reacted with delight to the two leaders selfie, with messages like cute premier! Others wondered why Chinas own leaders had no social media presence.
Wouldnt it be great if Premier Li had his own Weibo? one user wrote. Then we could respond to him directly.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.