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Indian PM Visits China
Cover Stories Series 2013> Indian PM Visits China
UPDATED: October 28, 2013 NO. 44 OCTOBER 31, 2013
Singh's China Legacy
Indian Prime Minister's Beijing trip significant for bilateral relations
By Yu Lintao

Professor Srikanth Kondapalli, a famous scholar on Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, also told Xinhua News Agency that he believes the BDCA will stabilize border area disputes.

"For example, the trailing of patrols is one area both sides will verify. Secondly, there is a hotline at military headquarters level. Thirdly, there will be also tactical military exercises," the professor said.

Economic cooperation

In a written interview with Chinese media before setting foot in China, Singh said India faces an unsustainable imbalance in its trade with China, and one of the ways of overcoming the deficit is for India to attract larger flows of foreign direct investment from China. He added that India welcomes Chinese investment.

During Singh's trip to Beijing, China and India agreed to expedite talks on the establishment of industrial zones in India to provide platforms for development of enterprises from each country, a move observers suggested as India trying to attract more Chinese investment.

"On the whole, setting up Chinese industrial zones in India is a new field for pragmatic bilateral cooperation," Lan said.

What's more, Lan claimed that the move benefits India, which is now at a transitional period and needs large amounts of external funding.

"China is rich in funds and has advantages in many industries such as manufacturing and infrastructure construction. Attracting more Chinese investment could not only make up for fund shortages, but also reshape the economic structure of India," Lan said.

In addition, Sun, with the CASS, claimed that industrial zones could also help increase employment in India and cure its trade deficit with China.

Sun added that Chinese plants in such zones could employ Indian workers and sell their products directly to local markets to meet the demands of Indian people, which would help reduce imports from China. It could be a good way for India to balance trade with the latter.

During his May visit to India, the Chinese premier proposed exploring the possibility of a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor to connect the two countries via the southern Silk Road.

In the joint statement issued during Singh's Beijing trip, both countries reiterated that they would continue to discuss the establishment of the economic corridor. China and India have each set up a study group on the corridor, while the first BCIM joint study group meeting is scheduled for December "to study specific programs" for the initiative.

Singh remarked in the written interview that "We believe that the BCIM economic corridor could potentially reinforce existing connectivity initiatives and we expressed our support of the idea during Premier Li's visit to India."

"The economic corridor would play a very important role in promoting regional integration as well as interconnectivity between China, South Asia as well as Southeast Asia," said Professor Su Hao at the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University.

Swaran Singh, an expert on Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, remarked in a story published in Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post that the economic corridor is conducive to stabilizing the regional situation and easing India's concern of being contained by China.

Exchanges growing

Observers said that with the increase in exchanges between the two countries, mutual trust is deepening.

Lan said that, despite Indian media preferring sensational topics when reporting on China, "their coverage is more objective and positive during Singh's trip to Beijing and on future bilateral ties," which is possibly the result of recent China-India media forum in New Delhi, where participants called for more extensive and objective media reporting on each other for the sake of trust.

To further boost mutual understanding, both sides decided during Singh's Beijing trip to encourage provincial and sub-regional exchanges, continue rooting exchanges for the next five years and celebrate 2014, the 60th anniversary of the announcement of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, as the Year of India-China Friendly Exchanges.

According to the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, both countries will hold a series of cultural exchange events in 2014, including Spring Festival celebrations, film festivals and youth delegations.

The improvement in political trust, practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges cast light on the prospects for China-India relations. Singh noted during the joint media conference with Premier Li that "when India and China shake hands, the world notices. I believe that my visit to China has put our relations on a path of stable and speedy growth."

Email us at: yulintao@bjreview.com

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