Foreign and Military Affairs

President holds talks with Indian leader

By Wu Jiao and Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-16 08:12
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BRASILIA, Brazil - Indian President Pratibha Patil will visit China in May, President Hu Jintao said on Thursday. President Hu made the remarks following a meeting on the sidelines of the second BRIC summit with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

President Hu told Singh that it was in the interest of both countries to resolve their border dispute as soon as possible. He was cutting his Latin America trip short due to the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in China, which hit Qinghai Province on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Singh said the Indian people offered their deep condolences to China over the tragedy and extended China assistance for the quake-hit area.

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President Hu met with Singh, before signing agreements with Brazilian President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, and South African President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India, and over this period the two Asian giants have developed strong political and economic relationships.

But analysts say bilateral trade and investment has been lagging far behind their potential. "China and India are close friends and support each other on the world political stage. But the two countries view each other as economic competitors, which has set barriers in bilateral trade," former deputy commerce minister Long Yongtu said earlier.

"Bilateral trade and investments should be increased dramatically to elevate the two countries' economic ties to the same level as their political ties," Long said.

China's Commerce Minister Chen Deming has said previously that he expects trade between the two countries to rise to $60 billion this year, as the world's two most populous nations are putting the global financial crisis behind them.

However, Amit Mitra, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said the lack of mutual trust has hindered the development of trade relations.

Fan Gang, a well-known Chinese economist said the two developing economies can learn from each other and cooperate in areas, such as expanding domestic consumption and the IT industry in China and improving infrastructure and manufacturing capacity in India.

The two countries are confident enough to work together as two key representatives of the developing world and as Asia continues to become a significant part of the global economy and, he said.

Fu Xiaoqiang, a researcher with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations said both sides want to expand trade ties based on their respective development requirement.

However, due to the security considerations, India has always set restrictions on bilateral trade, Fu said, noting China is not involved in India's infrastructure construction.