Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and conveyed the new Indian government's interest in furthering bilateral ties, even as he flagged off India's concerns over border related issues during his parleys with the top leadership in Beijing.
Ansari's talks with Xi were significant as the Chinese president is due to hold his first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil in the coming weeks.
Arrangements were on in full swing for Xi's visit to New Delhi later this year that will highlight his interest in developing close ties with India. Ansari, who came to take part in the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence, held talks with Xi, Premier Li Keqiang and Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao.
During the talks with the top leadership here, Ansari, the senior most Indian leader to visit China since the National Democratic Alliance government took office, highlighted Prime Minister Modi-led government's interest in furthering ties with Beijing.
During his talks with Li Keqiang two days ago, he had raised India's concerns over China continuing to show Arunachal Pradesh in its maps and Beijing's plans to build rail links with Pakistan through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
On the issue of continued incursions by Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control, both sides agreed that peace and tranquility should be maintained. Coinciding with his five-day visit, India and China on Monday signed three key MoUs, including one on industrial parks and flood data of BrahmaputraRiver.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Ansari and Li Yuanchao after they held bilateral talks. The MoU on industrial parks is aimed at attracting Chinese investments in India and provides an enabling framework for Chinese companies to invest in industrial parks and zones.
Under the MoU, the two countries have agreed to cooperate to increase mutual investment in each other's economies. The MoU on flood data sharing will provide India with 15 days more of hydrological data of river Brahmaputra. The data helps India in flood forecasting.
India provides money for maintenance of three hydrological centres on the Chinese side. The data will be provided from May 15 to October 15 each year. The third MoU will help the two countries establish a framework for regular interactions between administrative officials to share experiences and learn from each other's best practices. Specific programmes of cooperation will be worked out subsequently.
During his talks with Ansari, the Chinese Vice President spoke highly of the development momentum of China-India relations since the new Indian government took office. China is ready to work with India to push forward the bilateral strategic partnership, Li was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Both countries are striving for national rejuvenation and facing great tasks of developing the economy and improving people's livelihoods, Li said. He called on both sides to build a closer partnership for peaceful, cooperative and inclusive development.
Later, Ansari while delivering a speech at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences here said there is enough space in the world for the rise of India and China.
On the global stage, the two countries, that account for about 37 per cent of the world's population, are at the forefront of the emergence of a "more democratic global order" to resolve global issues in an equitable manner, he said in his speech on 'Calibrated Futurology: India, China and the World'.
"There is enough space in the world for the development of India and China, and the world needs the common development of both countries. As two large developing countries, our common interests far outweigh our differences," Ansari said.
He said India admires China's achievements in terms of development and hopes to see the country become a developed country soon. He noted that it is very rare in history that two large neighbours have become rising powers at the same time.
"Our destinies are linked by geography and history. We welcome China's peaceful development and regard it as a mutually reinforcing process," Ansari said.
He said the relations between the two neighbours have transcended the bilateral scope and acquired regional, global and strategic significance. "We both view each other as partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals or competitors. It has been customary to focus on bilateral issues although both our nations face similar global challenges today. The inter-dependence for dealing with these issues will only grow," Ansari said.
The Commerce Ministers of India and China held their first meeting here after the new NDA government came to power. On her first visit to China, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held talks with her Chinese counterpart Gao Hucheng on Monday during which she flagged India's concerns over the trade deficit which averaged over $35 billion a year and sought greater access to Indian goods and services.
India and China also released the first encyclopedia on their age-old cultural contacts, tracing back their history to over 2,000 years, starting from the visit of Chinese scholar Huen Tsang to India in the 7th century to bring Buddhist scriptures to China.
Image: Vice President Hamid Ansari meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Photograph: vicepresidentofindia.nic.in