India, China ink 11 pacts to boost trade

 Keen on expanding bilateral commerce, India and China on Monday signed as many as 11 pacts, including those worth over $ 5 billion in the private sector alone and vowed to work in a more business-friendly manner, but left out a discussion on the crucial security issue surrounding trade.

Business cooperation, removal of trade barriers and improvement in trade and investment environment were discussed at the second India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said after his meeting with chairman of China’s National Development and Reforms Commission Zhang Ping.

Indian Railways too agreed to coordinate with Beijing for cooperation in developing high-speed rail corridors in selected routes in the country which followed a decision to set up an infrastructure working group to work out details of future cooperation in rail sector.

“The message that we are getting from them is that they would like to see deepening of co-operation," Ahluwalia said, but regretted to reporters queries on whether trade-related security concerns, important both for India and China, were discussed at the meeting.

“No discussions on security issues,” he said. India imports a variety of mobile telephone equipment from China to bridge the demand-supply gap in telecom sector but these imports have posed security threats.

The strategic dialogue between the two countries, which among other things is expected to address trade imbalances and job creation, comes a week after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought greater Chinese investments during his meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

India-China trade, at present, is heavily tilted in China’s favour. India's trade deficit with China reached nearly $40 billion in the fiscal year 2011-12. In the bilateral trade of $75.45 billion last year, India’s exports were stood at $17.90 billion and import at $57.55 billion.

To address this, India is seeking better access to Chinese markets, particularly in IT, services and pharmaceutical sectors. The MoUs signed between the two countries on sharing technology in energy efficiency are expected to help achieve the objective in a great way.

In private sector, an MoU was signed between Reliance Power and Guangdone Mingyang Wind Power Industry Group Co, Ltd for a 2,500 MW renewable energy project envisaging an investment of $3 billion with project financing from the China Development Bank.

Lanco Group too entered into an agreement with the China Development bank for financing $600 billion among others which included NIIT and Province of Hainan joined hand to set up an IT technology park in Hainan with an investment of $ 800 million.
Besides, five working groups were created on policy coordination, energy and infrastructure, which has the scope for furthering India’s economic growth.

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