Need to address trade deficit between China, India: Sumitra Mahajan
New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday expressed concern over the "increasing trade deficit" between India and China during a meeting with a delegation of Chinese leaders and said the issue needed to be addressed to make mutual trade more sustainable and beneficial.
Welcoming the Chinese Parliamentary delegation in Parliament House here today, Mahajan said that while GDP is important, cultural humanitarian qualities (CHQ) should also grow and develop.
The delegation was led by Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China Zhang Dejiang.
Mahajan told the delegation that India attaches a lot of importance to the visit as it is taking place after a gap of over 14 years, and added that relations with China figure among the highest priorities in India's foreign policy.
Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to China marked a milestone in India-China relations, she said that bilateral relations are moving in the desired directions.
India-China ties could be the most significant bilateral partnership of the 21st century, she said as she observed that both nations were the fastest growing economies in the world.
Mahajan said she was happy to note that bilateral trade between India and China was going in volume and quantitative terms. However, she felt that the issue of increasing trade deficit needed to be addressed to make mutual trade more sustainable and mutually beneficial.
In this regard, she referred to two important initiatives Modi 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' and felt that these initiatives offered immense opportunities to Chinese companies to come and invest in India.
Recalling President Xi Jinging's visit to India in September last year, Mahajan was happy to note that he had assured her of his support for early visit of a parliamentary delegation from China.
She informed the visiting delegation that there was consensus across the broad political spectrum in India for strengthening friendly bilateral relations with China.
She was of the opinion that the cooperation and contacts between the State Assemblies, State Legislature and Provincial People's Assembly would further boost ties between them.
Talking about the Buddhist link between the two nations, she said that while continuing to strengthen our shared cultural linkages, we should develop newer fields of cooperation like tourism, education, academics, sports, films which are important areas of cooperation to boost people-to-people contacts.
She noted that India has decided to mark the year 2015 as 'Visit India Year' in China and 2016 as 'Visit China Year'.
She also expressed happiness that alternative Nathula Route to holy Mansarovar is opening with the first batch commencing its journey from Tuesday, which will give boost to religious tourism.
Dejiang, on his part, thanked the Lok Sabha Speaker for excellent hospitality extended to his delegation. He also hoped that the friendly bonds between the two countries would be further consolidated.