India and China on Wednesday inked a key agreement to establish peace along their disputed border besides deals for boosting economic cooperation.
Six months after a three-week tense standoff along their boundary, India and China on Wednesday inked a key agreement to establish peace along their disputed border besides deals for boosting economic cooperation, including establishing three “sister cities” on either side.
Both prime ministers called the deal “strategic”.
Manmohan Singh said both sides are in agreement that peace and tranquility on the border “must remain the foundation for growth in India-China ties”, and both should continue with negotiaions for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement to the boundary issue.
“This will be our strategic benchmark.”
Chinese Premier Li, describing the border deal as a “strategic agreement”, said he was “sure it will help to restore peace and tranquility in the border areas”.
The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement aimed to prevent face-offs between troops of the two countries was inked as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Li Keqiang met for talks in the Great Hall of the People.
The BDCA comes after Chinese troops intruded inside Indian territory in Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir on April 16, leading to a three-week face-off that was resolved after hectic negotiations. There have been more incidents on the border, which is ascribed to “differing perceptions” of their over 4,000-km long Line of Actual Control.
The two countries inked nine agreements. Besides the BDCA, which is desceribed as “an additional confidence building measure to ensure peace and tranquility on the border”, the others were to strengthen cooperation on trans-border river, an MoU on Nalanda University, cooperation on road transport, and setting up sister cities – between Delhi-Beijing, Beangalore-Chengdu and Kolkata-Kunming.
Li said he and Manmohan Singh are in agreement that both have “more common interests than differnces” and both have confidence that the leadership of both sides “have the abilitiy to manage differences along the border”.
Manmohan Singh said that both are agreed “that the prosperity and progress of 2.5 billion Indian and Chinese people would be a major factor of Asian resurgence and global prosperity and stability”.
Both sides have resolved to “realize the full promise of our partnership and maintain the friendliest of relations. This will be our strategic vision”.
Reflecting on their ties with other countries, both agreed that their independent foreign policies with other countries “must not become a source of concern for each other. This will be our strategic reassurance”.
Premier Li said both have agreed on strategic defence cooperation and to hold joint counter terrorism exeercises in southwest China as well as joint maritime exercises at an early date, and in countering terrorism.
On trade and economic issues, Li said both sides agreed to make full use of their existing mechanisms and China is ready to expand its foray in infrastructure development, including in railways in India. He also pushed for the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor to link up between their two countries.
He said China is keen to establish industrial zones in India to expand Chinese investments in India and make two-way trade “more dynamic”.
Both sides also inked an agreement on cultural exchanges.
Li said the agreement on sister cities would give a “strong boost to cooperation” and “inject more dynamism to China India relations”.