Beijing, New Delhi poised for closer ties

Updated: 2014-06-04 06:49

By Pu Zhendong (China Daily)

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Beijing and New Delhi are hoping to capitalize on the growing momentum for cooperation following the election of a new Indian government and as China's top diplomat prepares for a landmark visit to India.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi will fly to New Delhi on Sunday to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and other Indian leaders, ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday.

The two-day visit will be the first time that senior members of both governments have met since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's general election victory in May.

Hong said the two countries were still working closely on a detailed itinerary, but analysts said the visit would help lay the groundwork for greater cooperation.

Fu Xiaoqiang, director of the Center for Counterterrorism Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said, "The two countries will discuss a number of issues, including boosting communication and cooperation and finalizing arrangements for high-level visits later this year."

Modi, 63, led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a landslide victory in May, promising to revitalize Asia's third-biggest economy.

Premier Li Keqiang said in a congratulatory phone call to Modi on Thursday that Beijing and New Delhi should capitalize on each other's development opportunities and facilitate construction of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which was proposed during Li's visit to India last May.

In the phone call, Modi said India envisaged greater economic engagement with China, and he invited President Xi Jinping to visit India later this year.

Fu said Modi's government viewed developing cooperation with China as a priority. "Modi has vowed to improve the Indian economy and this offers great opportunities for both countries," he said.

The Times of India reported on May 25 that representatives from 20 Chinese companies would visit Modi's home state of Gujarat in June to seek new investment opportunities. The companies are said to have investment funds of $1 billion.

Fu said it was difficult for Chinese enterprises to enter the Indian market, but there are signs that the new government was taking measures to attract more Chinese capital.

Ma Jun, a researcher of Indian studies at the Academy of Military Science under the People's Liberation Army, said Modi's familiarity with China - he has visited the country frequently - and the Chinese economic model would boost confidence among Chinese investors.

"For Chinese enterprises, India is a unique and lucrative investment environment and Modi's experience and goals for the economy will help forge greater cooperation," Ma said.

Hong said the China-India partnership had made marked progress in recent years.

"This year is China-India Exchange Year and also the 60th anniversary of the announcement of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (jointly initiated by China, India and Burma - now Myanmar - in 1954)," Hong said.

(China Daily 06/04/2014 page3)