Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping shortly after his arrival in Fortaleza, Brazil, today on the eve of the 6th BRICS Summit. The 80-minute meeting was the prime minister’s first summit-level interaction with China.
The two leaders observed that India and China had enormous opportunities to not only forge mutually beneficial partnerships, but also serve as catalytic agents of Asian and global prosperity. President Xi underscored the importance of the bilateral relationship and said: When India and China meet, the whole world watches.
The two leaders were pleased with the opportunity to meet within a few weeks of the assumption of Prime Minister’s Office by Modi. They expressed satisfaction at the high momentum of bilateral engagement during the past few weeks, including the visit of Vice-President Hamid Ansari to China and the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India as President Xi’s Special Envoy, in June.
Both sides emphasised on the need to find a solution to the boundary question. The prime minister stressed the importance of strengthening mutual trust and confidence, and maintaining peace and tranquility on the border. He said that if India and China could amicably resolve the dispute over the frontiers, it would set an example for the entire world, on peaceful conflict resolution.
Modi suggested the addition of one more route for the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra, keeping in view the terrain difficulties. Xi accepted this as a suggestion for consideration.
The prime minister called for enhanced Chinese investment in the infrastructure sector in India, and hoped that the trade imbalance between the two countries is resolved. Xi agreed that balance in trade is necessary for a sustainable economic relationship. He also said enhanced services exports from India to China could be one way to address the issue.
China has invited India to attend an APEC meeting in November this year. Xi also said India should deepen its engagement with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The prime minister said India currently has observer status in the SCO, and was ready to accept additional responsibility, if asked to.
Modi warmly recalled his visits to China as Chief Minister. He underlined that relations between countries are built on the strength of relations between their people. He expressed hope for increase in tourism and ties between the people of the two ancient civilizations.
The prime minister expressed hope that Xi’s planned visit to India this year was an opportunity to chart a new and ambitious agenda for the strategic partnership between India and China. He expressed appreciation for the invitation extended to him to visit China and looked forward to an early visit.