Rio+20: Singh, Chinese PM review bilateral relations
India Blooms News Service
Rio de Janeiro, June 21 (IBNS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday met his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of Rio+20 Summit here to review bilateral relations of the two neighbouring countries.
In a statement, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said: "I thought I will just tell you that PM and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China had a good meeting for over 40 minutes during which they reviewed bilateral relations and also the cooperation we have in multilateral fora, this particular conference being an example of that."
"The Conference comes after the G20 Conference where again both in the conference itself as well as in the BRICS format India and China have had a high degree of collaboration in arriving at joint positions and in advancing our common agenda."
"Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in fact noted that this meeting with PM was the thirteenth the two Prime Ministers are having, and that their meetings have in fact taken forward the agenda both bilaterally and in terms of the international cooperation that we have," he said.
Mathai said on the bilateral relations, it was agreed that the two sides would continue close political dialogue at the political level as well as among the sectoral level among officials.
"As far as the boundary question is concerned there was a reference made to it, and it was decided that the Special Representatives would work for preparing the joint record of their work so far, which was already announced in January, and also give directions for the future coordination between us," said Mathai.
Both sides agreed that the joint mechanism which has been set up for handling boundary related issues, its first meeting which took place in Beijing a few weeks ago was a very positive step.
Singh recalled that in fact the joint mechanism was set up at the suggestion of Jiabao in December 2010 when he had come to India.
"The two Prime Ministers also said that the Defence and Strategic Dialogue between our two countries should be continued and maintained at the level it is, and stepped up. PM noted that our Naval ships were in fact in China just a few days ago and this is another example of our continuing cooperation," said Mathai.
"As far as bilateral trade and economic relations are concerned, both Prime Ministers agreed that the target of 100 billion dollars in trade by 2015, which was set up a few years ago, is in fact on track, and in fact we are moving in that direction," he said.
Singh raised the issue of Indian trade deficit and the Chinese agreed to work with India in addressing the fact that India has a large trade deficit.
"They mentioned in fact specifically that they are arranging trade missions to India to improve access of Indian exports into the Chinese market. They are organizing commodity fairs," Mathai said.
"And they noted for example one of the changes which has happened recently is that rice exports from India to China will now be commencing," he said.
Both sides also felt that improving investment would be one way of dealing with the trade deficit issue, particularly if there were a large flow of Chinese investments into India.
Singh mentioned in particular that Chinese investment in the infrastructure sector would be particularly welcome. And Jiabao mentioned that 'we both have complementary strengths and certainly infrastructure is one of those areas where Chinese companies would be able to do good business in India', said the Foreign Secretary.
Both sides also welcomed the CEOsí Forum which has been set up between the two countries.
"Prime Minister raised also the issue of trans-border rivers and mentioned it saying that as a lower riparian we appreciate the fact that the Chinese have agreed to set up the mechanism for transfer of information, and we would like this to continue so that there is a greater confidence in our country.
"The Chinese agreed, and in fact they said they would agree to strengthen the communication with the Indian side on this issue as well as on the trade issue," Mathai said.
The two Prime Ministerís also emphasized the importance of people-to-people contacts.
"The Chinese, as you know, had received a very large Youth Delegation from India, and we have similarly opened up access to Youth Delegations. But in addition it was felt there was scope for academics, media and other sections of civil society to engage with each other between India and China.
"So, broadly this was the theme. It was a long meeting, very very constructive, held in a very cordial atmosphere, and as I said, dealt with all the issues," said Mathai.