India 'priority' for diplomacy

Updated: 2014-07-01 09:02

By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

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Xi: Both nations should seize opportunity to develop together

India 'priority' for diplomacy

Vice-President Li Yuanchao and Indian Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari inspect a guard of honor in Beijing on Monday. Ansari is the first Indian leader to visit China since his country's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, took office. Wang Zhao / Agence France-Presse

Only about a month after the inception of the new Indian government, China and India have shown their determination to boost ties with cooperation projects and a flurry of exchanges.

India, an important strategic partner of China, is a priority for Chinese diplomacy, President Xi Jinping said on Monday.

Xi made the remarks during a meeting with Indian Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, the first Indian leader to visit China since the country's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, took office in late May.

Observers said the great shared interests of the two largest developing countries and populous neighbors will bring them closer, especially as New Delhi is keen to address its trade deficit with China and boost its economy through overseas investment.

Xi called on both sides to grab the opportunity for joint development, including promoting the construction of an economic corridor through China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India.

Ansari said on Monday that the world is large enough for the rise of both India and China, which view each other as partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals.

India would like to properly handle differences and problems with China, he said.

Earlier on Monday, Ansari and Vice-President Li Yuanchao held talks and witnessed the signing of three memorandums of understanding, including one on industrial parks and one on flood data sharing, Indian media reported.

The industrial parks plan "is aimed at attracting Chinese investments in India and provides an enabling framework for Chinese companies to invest in industrial parks and zones", said the Press Trust of India.

Hu Shisheng, a South Asian studies researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said China's investment in India's manufacturing and infrastructure sectors will help the country create more jobs and improve people's living conditions.

Subramanian Swamy, the former Indian minister of commerce and industry, said the visit conveys a message to China: "Unlike in the past, we regard Asian nations as more important to us than other nations. Therefore, we would like a close working relationship with China.

"Our job is to see that on all important matters, we consult with China and keep China informed of our position," he said, adding that counterterrorism is one area for both sides to work on together.

Arvind Gupta, former joint secretary of the National Security Council Secretariat of India, said the visit by Ansari would "start a cycle of high-level contact once again and give impetus to deepening the bilateral relationship".

During the trip from June 26 to Monday, Ansari also visited Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and attended commemorative activities for the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh will visit China from Wednesday to Saturday to discuss regional security and other issues of common concern with Chinese leaders.

Xi is expected to meet with Modi at the upcoming BRICS summit in July in Brazil.

Apart from ongoing talks to settle border issues, China and India are expected to hold a joint anti-terrorism exercise later this year as part of the activities being arranged to mark the Year of Friendly Exchanges between the neighbors.