Statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] at the joint press interaction with President Hu Jintao of China on November 21, 2006
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
President Hu Jintao and I have had cordial, open and constructive talks focusing on our bilateral relations and cooperation on regional and multilateral issues. The joint declaration we have agreed on reflects the understandings arrived at in our talks. It puts in place a ten pronged strategy to intensify cooperation in all areas and to give greater content to our strategic partnership. The nature and range of agreements signed today point to the consolidation and diversification of our bilateral relations. President Hu and I have agreed that the positive development of India-China relations in recent years must be made irreversible.
Our two governments have agreed to hold regular summit level meetings and intensify high level exchanges. We will strengthen institutional linkages and inter ministerial dialogue mechanisms. Additional Consulates General will be opened in each country, one in Kolkata for China and one in Guangzhou for India, to facilitate our growing interaction in trade and tourism. We are happy that the long pending issue of the property of the Indian Consulate in Shanghai has been resolved.
President Hu and I have agreed that comprehensive economic and commercial engagement between India and China will receive our urgent and particular attention. We will endeavour to raise the volume of bilateral trade to US$ 40 billion by 2010 and encourage two way investment flows. We have instructed the Joint Task Force to expedite its study of the feasibility and benefits of the India China Regional Trading Arrangement and submit its report by October 2007.
It has been decided to boost trans-border connectivity and cooperation. We have endorsed a major initiative on
science and technology, which will involve launching of several joint projects. Cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy will be promoted. We are also convinced of the imperative need to broad base the relationship through enhanced people to people contacts and cultural ties.
There will be several initiatives in this regard, including the launching of an 'India China Year of Friendship through Tourism' in 2007 and a five year programme for exchange of youth delegations.
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.
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. We agree that an early boundary settlement will advance the basic interests of the two countries and must therefore be pursued as a strategic objective. Such a settlement will invest our strategic partnership with further strength and dynamism.
As two large Asian states and as two of the fastest growing emerging 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, peace and prosperity in Asia and in the world, environment protection and the fight against terrorism and cross border crimes.
I am reassured following my talks with President Hu today that as India and China move forward towards all-round national progress, friendship will be the underlying theme of our cooperation. We will take strength from our cooperative endeavours. President Hu and I are in full agreement that the prospects are bright for the simultaneous development of India and China. There is enough space for the two countries to develop together in a mutually supportive manner while remaining sensitive to each other's concerns and aspirations, as befits good neighbours and partners for mutual benefit.