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Beijing, Delhi mull joint projects in Afghanistan

29 April 2018, 09:51 | Myrtle Vega

China, India leaders meet to repair strained ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan Hubei province China

In a move that could upset Pakistan, Modi and Xi also agreed to undertake a joint India-China economic project in war-torn Afghanistan.

China on Saturday said it won't push India hard if it has issues joining Beijing's multi-billion dollar Belt and Road project.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a two-day visit to China for an "informal" summit. "We discussed ways to give impetus to our economic ties as well as people-to-people relations".

Prime Minister Modi and President Xi recognised the common threat posed by terrorism, and reiterated their strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands along the East Lake, in Wuhan. "Conflicts between China and India have kept accumulating, which exposed the fragility of Sino-Indian relations and prompted both sides to recognize that confrontation between China and India does not fit their interests. The development of India and China can contribute to the elimination of poverty and inequality". "Which, in turn, will be conducive to improving mutual trust between the neighbours and charting the course of long-term bilateral development".

The BRI has injected "fresh vitality" to Asia's economic cooperation and helped the continent reshape its worldwide relations, said the Asian Competitiveness Annual Report 2018 released here on the sidelines of China's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference.

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The two leaders have endorsed the work done by the special representatives on the boundary question and the 20 other established mechanisms for addressing issues of contention and convergence. One can only find an opinion article written by Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui in Hindustan Times titled 'India-China cooperation outweighs our differences " hanging at the end of the site's home page.

India Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said after the talks that the two leaders had agreed dialogue was the way to deal with all the differences between the regional rivals, including the dispute over their high-altitude border in the western Himalayas.

While state-run media reported positively on Modi's visit to Wuhan, multiple opinion pieces have tried to dissect the meeting and analyse why the warming of ties is relevant today.

During the meetings, Xi pointed out that China-India relations need to be stable and development based on mutual trust. It was blandly indicated by official quarters that both sides will work to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border, and that they discussed terrorism.

The proposed joint economic project in Afghanistan of course has an economic and a political dimension, and, in the regional context, may be seen as an alternative theme to India not signing up on China's Belt and Road Initiative.

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