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India, China to celebrate
Panchsheel anniversary

June 23, 2003 17:02 IST

Efforts to inject some warmth into Indo-China ties seems to be bearing fruit as both countries agreed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful co-existence, with 'great elan'.

The respective foreign offices would work out a detailed plan, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha told reporters after an hour-long talk Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday.

The Chinese premier made eight significant points to enhance ties between the two countries, including mutual understanding, trust and greater people to people contact, cooperation at international and multilateral fora and increasing cultural exchanges.

Sinha said the Chinese have proposed cooperation in the area of public finance and emphasised on the need to set up a mechanism for a dialogue on this.

The two sides signed nine accords, including on simplifying visa procedures, enhancing cooperation in renewable energy sources, setting up of cultural centres, and agreed to increase contacts in the field of law and justice.

The two also sides discussed the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, which is scheduled to start in July, and improving facilities for Indian pilgrims on the Tibetan side.

China has already agreed to receive in July the first batch of Indian pilgrims through Uttaranchal, but India is seeking an alternate route via Himachal Pradesh.

Vajpayee and Wen also explored the possibility of boosting bilateral trade.

Vajpayee shared with Wen India's views on the situation in South Asia, Afghanistan and North Korea, Sinha said.

Among other issues that figured in the parleys were the recent visit of Defence Minister George Fernandes to China, the tri-lateral meeting between the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia, which was held last year on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, and flood protection.

Vajpayee hoped that the State Bank of India's branch in Shanghai would be upgraded to a full-fledged bank and also mentioned that an Indian company has been given the contract to provide a new paging system for the Shanghai stock exchange.

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