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India, China Not Rivals: Wen

PTI 15 Dec 2010, 21:58:56 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Dec 15 (PTI) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today said India and China are not 'rivals' and that there is enough space for both the countries to develop and prosper, as their companies were poised to sign 16 billion dollars worth deals.

 Seeking to shore up 'fragile' India-China ties, Wen arrived here on a three-day visit and  struck a warm chord
when he said " my visit in India is a journey of friendship and journey of cooperation." China's Ambassador Zhang Yan said yesterday that 'special care' is needed for the 'fragile ties' betweeen the two Asian giants.

 Wen, who will have summit talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow, also rejected the oft made "dragon" and "elephant" comparison between China and India.

 "China and India are partners for cooperation and not rivals in competition. There is enough space in the world for the development of both China and India and there are enough areas for us to cooperate," he said addressing industry leaders of the two countries at a meeting organised by the apex chambers here in his first major engagement. He said some people described China and India as economic competitors and likened them to a 'dragon' and an 'elephant.'  "I don't agree with such a view and I don't think business people agree either," Wen said.

After multi-billion dollar deals with US and French companies, Indian businesses are due to ink USD 16 billion worth deals with China's industry. Wen himself made a reference to the deals when he said "The (investment and trade promotion) mission is scheduled to sign economic and trade agreement worth more than USD 16 billion with Indian companies."

 In a statement immediately after his arrival here, Wen said, "My current visit is aimed at promoting friendship,
expanding cooperation, building on our past achievements and opening up new dimensions for mutual benefit and common development of the two countries."  Six Tibetans were detained as they staged a demonstration outside Taj Palace Hotel, where Wen is staying, while a large group of people marched through the streets in the capital to protest against his visit. Prime Minister Singh hosted a private dinner tonight in honour of Wen, who is here on the first leg of his two-nation visit that will also take him to Pakistan on Friday.

 Wen is expected to address some of India's key concerns like those on stapled visas for Jammu and Kashmir residents, its bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC and growing trade imbalance during his talks with his Indian counterpart. Wen, who is accompanied by a biggest delegation ever of 400 businessmen, senior ministers and officials, said both the countries stand to gain from economic cooperation.

Making out a case for liberalising bilateral trade (about USD 49 billion till January-October 2010), Wen said
liberalisation of the markets hold huge potential for them domestic markets of the two countries.

 "By opening markets to each other, we will be most dynamic economies and can support each other in economic development," he said.

 With two-way trade between India and China poised to cross USD 60 billion this year, Wen said that during his meeting with Prime Minister Singh he would discuss ways to enhance it further. On India's concerns on trade imbalance, he said China takes its "seriously". "China takes seriously the trade imbalance between our
countries and stands ready to take further measures to facilitate the access of Indian IT products, pharmaceuticals and agro products to the Chinese market," Wen said.  India had a trade imbalance of USD 19 billion with China in 2009-10.

 Agreements, which will be signed during Wen's visit include those between China Development Bank and Reliance Power, China Aluminium International Trading Co and Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, Bank of China and IDBI, Dongfang Electric Corporation Ltd and Abhijeet Projects Ltd. At another event, Wen while giving away the China-India Friendship Awards to nine people, including CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, said the two countries should work "hand-in-hand" in changing global and economic times.

In his arrival statement, Wen said China-India relations faced major opportunities and enjoy broad prospects and that the friendship and cooperation between the two sides have seen comprehensive and rapid progress.PTI