China, India sign border cooperation agreement
By Louise Watt, APBEIJING--China and India sounded a new optimistic tone in their relationship Wednesday as they signed an agreement to boost meetings between their militaries to avoid any repeat of a tense standoff this year along their disputed Himalayan border.
October 24, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
The accord followed a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also had trade ties on the agenda as India seeks to gain greater access to Chinese markets and readjust a trade balance tilted heavily toward China.
The two sides agreed to boost communication about border maneuvers, hold periodic meetings at designated crossing points, and have patrols refrain from any provocations. They agreed that patrols should not follow or “tail” patrols of the other side in contested areas.
“I am sure it will help to maintain peace, tranquility and stability in our border areas,” Li said of the accord.
Li, who said the meeting injected “new vitality” into China-India relations, said the two sides also agreed to hold joint counterterrorism training in southwest China at an early date, strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs, and work together to tackle terrorism.
Another accord signed by the countries enables a Chinese power equipment service center in India, and Li said China stood ready to help India with railway construction. The two sides also are exploring a trade corridor, said Singh, who expressed concern about the countries' “unsustainable trade balance.”
India ran a US$39 billion trade deficit with China over the last fiscal year. With growing economies and a combined population of 2.5 billion, the two neighbors have set a target of US$100 billion in bilateral trade by 2015, up from US$61.5 billion last year.
“The huge gap between us and them in terms of overall material power is massive. It creates a lot of anxieties,” said Sreeram Chaulia, an international affairs expert at Jindal School of International Affairs in New Delhi.
“One way to address it would be to increase Chinese investment in India,” he said.