China's Xi, India's Modi meet with upbeat tone

Updated: 2014-07-15 11:52

By Wu Jiao (China Daily USA)

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China's Xi, India's Modi meet with upbeat tone

The maiden meeting between President Xi Jinping and the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first major event for both leaders just hours after they landed in the Brazilian coastal city of Fortaleza for the meeting of the BRICS nations.

Within about two hours after they landed, Xi and Modi went into a meeting room with smiles and high spirits, and photographers' cameras kept flashing as the two leaders shook hands.

Although it's the first meeting between the two leaders, it was not what some observers had presumed, just a get-to-know meeting where some bilateral issues might be raised but no major items were likely to be decided.

The meeting touched upon a slew of detailed but key economic and security issues, including Chinese investment in India's key infrastructure sectors and industrial parks and settling the border issue between the two countries.

Both sides voiced an upbeat tone for peaceful cooperation.

In his opening remarks, Xi said as the world's leading two emerging countries, if China and India voice common sounds, the whole world would listen. He said that the two countries should be longterm partners instead of competitors.

Modi then thanked the Chinese side for the hospitality he felt, and voiced his strong determination to enhance economic cooperation with China.

The meeting scene itself was interesting.

Modi speaks the Hindi language, which he has sought to promote as a working language for his international events. His comments were translated into Chinese for Xi. The Chinese president speaks Mandarin, which was translated into English for Modi.

The exchange in different languages was highly symbolic. It signaled that China is dealing with a new India with different policy concerns. It reflected a sense of nationalism with a clear resolution to reach out to the world, including China.

Modi, the star politician who has already won strong support for his economic policy at home, on Sunday announced his government's foreign policy approach during a departure statement for the BRICS meeting, which India media described as "giving a new thrust to India's foreign policy approach" by seeking an aggressive Indian engagement on global issues.

Preparing for his first multilateral engagement with world leaders, Modi said they were meeting at a time of political turmoil, conflict and humanitarian crisis in several parts of the world and persistent weakness and risks in the global economy.

BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - has become an increasingly important player on the world stage.

Collaboration between China and India - with a combined population equal to almost a quarter of the world's total - is crucially important for not only the development of the BRICS, but for the whole world.

Despite the two leaders of neighboring countries having to come tens of thousands of miles from their home countries to meet, the two should first of all increase visits to each other.

The momentum is good, and it's important the two countries maintain it.

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(China Daily USA 07/15/2014 page4)