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Chinese premier's India trip to boost cooperation, mutual trust

By Meng Na, Ming Jinwei and Wang Ping (Xinhua)

15:35, May 18, 2013

BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Li Keqiang flies to India on Sunday for the first leg of his maiden foreign visit as premier, and the itinerary evinces the importance of bilateral ties.

During his stay, Li will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, meet with President Pranab Mukherjee and other leaders, and deliver a speech on China-India ties. Also, the two sides will sign a series of cooperation agreements.

It is widely believed that the visit will help further remove suspicion and consolidate mutual trust between the two countries and forge a new type of strategic cooperative partnership to the benefit of both sides.


The two neighboring countries are both ancient civilizations, major developing countries and leading emerging-market economies.

These and many other similarities provide a sound reason for them to learn from each other and a solid foundation for them to further their strategic cooperative partnership.

With a combined population of more than 2.5 billion, the two countries, each boasting a burgeoning middle class, also provide enormous markets for the world.

Bilateral trade grew from 2.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 61.7 billion dollars in 2010, marking an increase of 20 folds in 10 years. In 2012, the volume reached 66.5 billion dollars, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

China has now become India's second largest trade partner, and India is China's largest trade partner in South Asia.

"At such a growth rate, the two sides are expected to hit the designated target of 100 billion U.S. dollars on schedule," Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Yaoping said Thursday at a press briefing, referring to the 2015 goal.

However, compared with the population and economic scale of the two countries, bilateral trade still has much potential to grow, said Jiang Jingkui, director of the Department of South Asian Languages at Peking University.

"They could strengthen cooperation in infrastructure construction in India and in medicine and IT products in China," he added.

On China's trade surplus with India, Vice Minister Jiang said the trade imbalance between China and India is mainly due to differences in the two countries' economic structures.

China has never sought trade surplus, nor has China imposed any blocks on imports, the vice minister added.

Given the many similarities China and India share in population scale and economic development potential, Jiang from Peking University said the two should also strengthen cooperation on multilateral platforms in such fields as climate change and global economic governance.

Jabin T. Jacob, assistant director at the Delhi-based Institute of Chinese Studies, said China and India should devote greater attention to each other.

As Asia's two rising powers, they have immense possibilities of cooperation, he said, noting that bilateral cooperation has already started under the frameworks of BRICS and the G20.

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