Modi meets Chinese Prez Xi, discusses trade, investment issues

Brasilia: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in-depth talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping here and the two leaders have agreed to maintain close contact on matters relating to trade and investment to further deepen and add new vigour to India-China relations.

During the meeting held on the margins of the 11th BRICS Summit on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi said there was a “new direction and new energy” in bilateral ties after their second informal summit in Chennai last month.

“Held talks with President Xi Jinping. Several subjects pertaining to deepening bilateral cooperation were discussed. Today’s discussions will add new vigour to India-China relations,” Modi tweeted after the meeting.

“Fruitful meeting between PM Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines on the BRICS Summit in Brazil. Trade and investment were among the key issues both leaders talked about,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a separate tweet.

The leaders had forward-looking discussions on various aspects of the multifaceted India-China relationship, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Modi and President Xi agreed on the importance of maintaining close dialogue on matters relating to trade and investment. The two leaders agreed that the new high level mechanism on trade and economy should meet at an early date, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

“I am glad to meet you once again. When I look back, we had met for the first time in Brazil itself… and our journey began. This journey of unknown people has today turned into a close friendship.

“Since then, we have met at many forums, bilaterals; you visited my home state, took me to your village, came to receive me outside Beijing in Wuhan…. It is such a significant thing that within the five years, there have been so much trust and friendly relations,” Modi told Xi.

“As you said and I believe that our meeting in Chennai gave our journey a new direction and new energy. Without any agenda, we talked about each other’s issues, global situations… these have been very successful,” Modi said on the second informal summit at Mamallapuram, a coastal town near Chennai, on 11-12 October.

The leaders noted that the special representatives will have another meeting on matters relating to the boundary question and reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and security in the border areas, the MEA statement said.

President Xi thanked Prime Minister Modi for India’s substantial participation in the just-concluded China Import Export Expo in Shanghai.

Xi noted that he was told that India was the country with the largest increase in transaction volume at the expo compared with last year.

“China welcomes more exports of India’s high-quality products to China,” and called on the two countries to expand two-way trade and investment and create new growth points for cooperation in productivity, medicine, information technology, infrastructure and other fields, the official Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.

From India’s point of view, the huge trade deficit of $57 billion with China has become a major issue. The issue was discussed during the 2nd informal summit and the two leaders have agreed to set up new mechanism led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chinese Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua to discuss trade, investment and services.

Xi conveyed his deep appreciation to Modi for hosting him at the second informal summit in Chennai and said that he would not forget the welcome given to him by the prime minister and the people of India.

Xi stressed that he is willing to maintain close communication with Modi to jointly steer the direction of China-India relations, increase political mutual trust, properly manage differences and expand practical cooperation so as to guide a better and more stable development of bilateral ties, the Xinhua report said.

Xi hoped that China-India ties will achieve new and greater development in 2020, adding that he is looking forward to meeting with Modi again in China in the new year.

He invited Modi for the 3rd informal summit in China in 2020. The date and venue for which will be determined through diplomatic channels.

The two leaders reviewed preparations for celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations next year. They agreed that this will enhance people-to-people relations.

The leaders also exchanged views on multilateral issues including WTO, BRICS and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the BRICS Summit held to focus on building mechanisms for counter-terrorism cooperation and strengthen India’s ties with the world’s five major economies.

The meeting between Modi and Xi in the Brazilian capital comes days after India decided not to join China-backed RCEP over unresolved “core concerns”, with India saying the proposed deal would have adverse impact on the lives and livelihoods of all Indians.

It also took place amidst renewed strain in ties between the two countries over the Kashmir issue. A joint statement issued after talks between President Xi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan last month said China was paying “close attention” to the situation in Kashmir and that it should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter.

In its reaction, the MEA said India’s consistent and clear position has been that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and China is well aware of New Delhi’s position.