Modi, Xi back to Afghan plan

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their visit at East Lake Guest House in Wuhan China
China says won't force India to accept Belt and Road initiative

30 April, 2018

Prime Minister Modi next meets President Xi next month in China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting though the next informal summit like this between Mr Modi and Mr Xi will take place in India next year.

Wuhan: China on Saturday said that there is no fundamental difference with India on the issue of "inter-connectivity" and Beijing will "not be too hard" with New Delhi on the issue of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up an informal summit on Saturday that China has described as a milestone in bilateral relations, after a recent border dispute rekindled fears of a war between the two Asian nations.

The visit was viewed as an important step towards building mutual trust ever since New Delhi and Beijing were locked in a tussle over Doklam, where a military standoff lasting 73 days had put a strain on the same. He also pointed out that Xi had said the problems between the two sides "are of a limited, temporary nature".

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters after Modi and Xi wrapped up their talks that both leaders had agreed their two countries had the maturity and wisdom to handle all their differences peacefully through talks. Xi called for the two sides to "conduct closer strategic communication and frequently consult on important matters of mutual concern". "They should regard each other as an active factor in the change of world power", Xi said.

India and China agreed on a number of issues during the Wuhan meeting which had no fixed agenda and touched upon issues that the two leaders thought about freely.

In an interview with Xinhua, Volkhonsky said addressing global development issues without the participation of China and India is simply impossible.

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India and China have instructed their armies to tone down the rhetoric along the disputed border to avoid another Doklam type incident, in which the two sides faced off for over two months a year ago.

On Friday, Modi and Xi first met at the Hubei Provincial Museum where the two leaders held one-on-one talks.

India, China "backbone" of multi-polar world order: "As the two largest developing countries and emerging-market economies with a population level of more than one billion, China and India are the backbone of the world's multipolarisation and economic globalisation", Jinping was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, sources said India and China have chose to work on a joint economic project in Afghanistan, a move that could upset Beijing's "all-weather ally" and New Delhi's arch-rival Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan.

In a tweet, Mr Modi said discussions over tea had been productive and that "Strong India-China friendship is beneficial for the people of our nations and the entire world". The issues they touched upon included border tension, counter terrorism, trade, people-to-people relations, cooperation in country like Afghanistan, etc.

Asked whether the two countries would compete against each other in the neighbourhood, the region and elsewhere, and if there was any agreement not to work against each other's interests, Gokhale was non-committal.

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