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Solving border row is the key: Hu Jintao
Ramananda Sengupta in New Delhi
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November 21, 2006 13:18 IST
Last Updated: November 21, 2006 16:06 IST

India and China have agreed on a 10-pronged strategy to intensify cooperation in all areas, including civilian nuclear energy.

The two countries also and downplayed the border dispute after the official meeting between the Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Tuesday morning.

Thirteen agreements were signed between the two nations, including one to set up a Chinese consulate in Kolkata and Indian one in Guangzhou, while the dispute over the property of the Indian Consulate in Shanghai has also been settled.

Addressing a joint press conference at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi after the meeting, Dr Singh said the two sides had 'cordial, open and constructive' talks on bilateral relations and cooperation on regional and multilateral issues.

"President Hu and I have agreed that the positive development of India-China relations in recent years must be made irreversible," he said.

Stressing that comprehensive economic and commercial engagement between the two nations would receive our 'urgent and particular attention,' he said that efforts would be made to raise to volume of bilateral trade to $40 billion by 2010, and that a joint task force on the subject would submit its report by October 2007.

"We have endorsed a major initiative on science and technology and cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy will be promoted," he said.

At the fulcrum of our efforts is our collective political will to enrich and reinforce our strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity and to resolve outstanding issues in a focused, sincere and problem solving manner.

On the border issue, he said, "President Hu and I appreciate the progress the two special representatives have made in their discussions on the boundary question. We are asking them to accelerate their efforts to arrive at a boundary settlement on the basis of the agreement on political parameters and guiding principles signed in April last year."

He then went on to note that as the two large Asian states and as two of the fastest growing economies of the world, cooperation between India and China transcends the bilateral and has global significance.

"Jointly, our two countries can make effective contributions in dealing with global issues of sustainable and equitable development, energy security, pace and prosperity in Asia and the world, environment protection and the fight against terrorism and cross border crimes.

"President Hu and I are in full agreement that the prospects are bright for the simultaneous development of India an China. There is enough space for the two nations to develop together in a mutually supportive manner while remaining sensitive to each other's concerns and aspirations, as befits good neighbors and partners for mutual benefit, he concluded.

President Hu began his speech with a smile, saying that though Prime Minister Singh had already listed the main issues, it was up to him add a few things.

After noting that the two sides had agreed to step up and expand ties across almost all sectors, he noted that the next year would be celebrated as China-India friendship year through tourism.

His government had decided to invite 500 Indian students to visit China over the next five years, he added.

Noting that resolving the border dispute was a strategic objective of the two countries, he said that until it is resolved, efforts must be made to maintain pace and tranquility in the border areas.

He concluded by expressing full confidence that the relationship was on the right track, and that it would continue to grow.

Several ministers and officials from both sides were in attendance, and subsequently the representatives of the two sides signed the 13 agreements and released the joint declaration.

On the Chinese side, there was foreign minister Li Zhaoxing, Ambassador Sun Yuxi, and several other bureaucrats and party officials.

Indian ministers included Kamal Nath, Sharad pawar [Images], Kapil Sibal, National Security Advisor MK Narayanan, the Prime Minister's Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru and a host of other officials, including the director-general of the Archeological Society of India.

The two sides then went on to sign 13 agreements, involving cooperation and collaboration across various fields like agriculture, protection of cultural property and civil administration.

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