Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday that strategic communication had improved between India and China which has led to resolution of some long-pending issues including declaring JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. He also hoped that there will be a significant uptake in India’s exports to China due to ease in regulatory processes.
The two met on the sidelines of the SCO summit here and agreed that there is a new momentum in the bilateral relationship since the Wuhan summit in April last year.
President Xi said China has simplified some regulations related to import of certain goods from India to address the trade imbalance and further steps will be taken in this direction.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the Prime Minister specifically noted that what had improved between the two sides was “strategic communication at all levels”.
Modi told Xi that the two countries have been able to resolve, through strategic communication, long-pending issues like the opening of a Bank of China branch in India as well as resolution of the issue of listing of Azhar in the 1267 sanctions committee.
“The two leaders agreed that while the outcome of Wuhan was a very positive one, it was necessary now to move the relationship forward into new areas. Therefore, Prime Minister specifically conveyed to President Xi and he agreed that both sides need to raise our expectations from the relationship,” Gokhale said.
The talks between two leaders laid the ground for the Chinese President’s visit to India later this year.
Modi invited Xi for an ‘informal Summit’ in India this year. Xi accepted the invitation and said he looks forward to the visit to strengthen the relationship.
Both leaders agreed that the two countries have a historic opportunity to take India-China relations to a new level, the Foreign Secretary said.
Describing the meeting as “relatively brief” but “substantive in content”, he said there was “some discussion on trade” in the context of trade imbalance, which is in favour of China.
He said Modi noted that both sides must thoroughly prepare for the next informal summit and the outcome must meet expectations of both sides.
Xi said he looked forward to discussing all issues from long-term and strategic perspective and that both sides should begin intensive preparations for the summit.
Gokhale said Modi has reiterated since the Wuhan summit that it is important for to tackle trade deficit with China and regulatory procedures have been simplified by the Chinese side in a number of areas.
Modi expressed his appreciation for simplification of regulatory processes that include non-basmati rice, sugar, certain agricultural products, and pharmaceuticals.
“He, therefore, hoped that now that these regulatory issues were out of the way, there would be a significant uptake in India’s exports of these products to China. President Xi said initial steps have been taken to redress some of these issues and China will be taking further steps,” Gokhale said, adding that both sides agreed that two sides agreed to work towards a significant break through discussions.
Modi and Xi also had a brief discussion on the boundary question and they asked their Special Representatives, who were present in the meeting, to expedite the process of finding a “fair, reasonable and mutually-acceptable” solution to the issue.
It was also noted at the meeting that 2020 will mark the 70th year of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China.
In this context, Modi said it should be marked in a befitting manner. It was decided that the two countries will organize 70 important events jointly — 35 in each country – and the Foreign Ministers were tasked to discuss the mechanism.
“This is the beginning of a series of interactions the two leaders (Modi and Xi) will have,” Gokhale said, adding that they will “meet and greet” at the G-20 Summit, then at the BRICS Summit before the ‘informal summit’ in India.
He said the meeting, originally scheduled for 20 minutes, went on for a longer period and the two leaders had “a very long and cordial discussions on a range of subjects”.