Beijing, Feb 1 (IANS) Stating that both countries should have mutual confidence, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Sunday said that India desired to take economic ties with China to “a qualitatively new level”.
Addressing the launch of the Second India-China Media Forum, Sushma Swaraj also said that the Narendra Modi government was committed to exploring an early settlement to the Sino-Indian boundary row.
“China is today our largest partner in trade and goods,” the minister said. “The two economies are moving to invest in each other.
“Serious discussions on enhancing connectivity have been initiated. On that foundation, we are now seeking to take our economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level,” she said.
Sushma Swaraj said that as both countries play a larger international role, “our contacts and dialogues must commensurately grow. As the two major civilizational powers of Asia, we should have confidence in each other, to build on our shared interests”.
She said that a particularly significant new area of bilateral collaboration was in railways. This included heavy haulage, boosting speed and station development besides capacity building.
“Another major thrust is in establishing industrial parks in two Indian states that would contribute to the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” she said.
“We will make it easier for Chinese companies to do business in India and expect that similar encouragement would be given to our companies to expand their business in China.”
Sushma Swaraj also appreciated China’s decision to open an additional route through Nathula for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra.
“Our relationship today has reached a level where we have interactions in fields that could not have been imagined some years ago.
“We have made considerable progress in establishing and expanding defence contacts and exchanges, including across our border.
“They contribute to the maintenance of peace and tranquility there, a pre-requisite for the further development of our relationship.”
The minister underlined that India had a new government “with a decisive mandate propelled by the aspirations of a young, vibrant and enterprising generation.
“Even in the last eight months, it is evident that drastic transformations are underway in my country that will accelerate our journey to modernity.
“A number of key initiatives addressing a wide range of ambitious goals are unfolding. They provide new opportunities for cooperation insofar as our key international partners are concerned.
“Where China is concerned, this is very evident in the frequency of our high-level exchanges and the widening of our already substantive bilateral agenda.”
She recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had three successful meetings with President Xi Jinping, who visited India in September 2014. Modi, she said, had also interacted with Primier Li Keqiang.
“We expect that the momentum that has been set in the last few months would not only be kept up but accelerated event further at various levels.”