Move to get closer to China

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  • Published 27.09.11

New Delhi, Sept. 26: India is reaching out to China, its largest neighbour in Asia, with offers of more trade, better investment ties and collaboration in high-speed railways.

Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today pledged to deepen investment ties between the two nations, which are at times contentious or even marred by Indian fears of Chinese intentions and China’s reluctance to open up its markets to Indian IT and pharma firms.

The two neighbours were recently involved in a verbal duel over deep-sea oil exploration in the disputed South China Sea.

“I believe the Chinese side is aware of our market access concerns…As we try to take our relationship to a new level, opening up of markets and improvement in the investment climate are challenges that we need to address together,” he said.

Singh said the “two countries today share many common factors. Your achievements in transforming your economy are well recognised all over the world. We in India are deeply impressed by your progress and we believe there are many lessons from your experience that may be valuable to us”.

Although the bilateral trade crossed $61 billion this year, India was left with a deficit of over $40.9 billion because of accelerated exports from China.

Ahluwalia said the industrialised countries were still in a dominant position, but the growth differential between them ensured that a sharp shift in favour of emerging economies was now inevitable.

“If we take a 20-year horizon, we know that the world will look very different. The change in relative economic weight calls for changes in the global order and these changes can be brought about faster and more effectively if India and China work together along with other emerging market economies,” Ahluwalia said.

The two nations agree on global issues such as climate change or global trading rules, he said.

“The emergence of new groups such as the G-20 is indicative of the new global architecture. We have a common interest that this new architecture should be such that developed countries make more room for us,” Singh said.

“We need to collaborate in new groupings such as G-20 and the BRICS to ensure there is a regular exchange of views between us,” Ahluwalia said.

Another sector where India is keen to explore cooperation from the Chinese side is the setting up and running of high-speed trains in the country.

“The talks are at a preliminary stage…we are exploring possible areas of cooperation as the Chinese have developed their high-speed rail network considerably,” a railway board official said.