Sino-Indian accord to solve border dispute, boost trade
China and India, the two rising Asian giants, are now on a course of rapprochement, a blessing not only to Asian region but also the whole world.
In the presence of visiting Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, the two states signed a historic accord
setting out "guiding principles" to resolve their decades-old border dispute.
Analysts hail the move as a boost to bilateral economic cooperation and
China and India have also set themselves a target of increasing bilateral trade to 20 billion dollars by 2008 from a current 13.6 billion dollars, they said in a joint statement.
India hailed Wen's four-day visit, which ends Tuesday, saying a "strategic partnership with China for peace and prosperity has been established".
"It was an extremely successful visit with results that will be far-reaching in character," Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran told reporters. "India and China are partners, and they are not rivals," he added. "We do not look upon each other as adversaries."
The "three-tiered" border deal, described by India's National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan as "one of the most significant documents" signed by the neighbours, will allow special envoys to negotiate territorial claims as experts delineate the boundary on a map and on the ground.
The boundary dispute is the result of a brief but bitter border conflict in 1962 that left ties between the world's most populous countries in shreds.
"For the first time we see a commonality on both sides to find a solution," said Narayanan who worked out the finer points of the pact with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo on Sunday.
The border agreement commits Beijing and New Delhi to "safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas," while arriving at a solution.
Another accord, to minimize tensions between the two militaries and increase interaction between them, was also initialed, India's foreign ministry said.
In addition, other agreements aimed at improving bilateral relations in general -- including in trade, civil aviation, water resources management, culture, films, increasing air links and people-to-people contact -- were inked.
A joint statement signed by prime ministers Singh and Wen noted the "the process of building trust and understanding had gained momentum".
India and China agreed that "relations have now acquired a global and strategic character" and have decided to "establish an India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity," the statement said.
"The two countries today have upgraded their ties to strategic cooperation
and partnership for peace and prosperity through common understanding and a
raised level of maturity," Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said after the
pacts were signed.