Singh-Ziabao Meet

xin.jpgPrime Minister Manmohan Singh has just concluded a three day visit to China, which has been hailed as a success from both sides. This is Mr. Singh’s first visit to the country as a head of state, and the first official visit to China from India since 2004.

Mr. Singh, and his Chinese counterpart, Mr. Wen Ziabao, have signed a joint agreement titled, “A Shared Vision for the 21st Century of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of India”, amongst various other memoranda of understanding from diverse fields such as planning policy, rural development, railways, medical co-operation, culture, geology, traditional medicine among others. A total of 11 documents were signed by both sides.

Mr. Singh commenced his visit to China by visiting the Beijing Olympics Expedition Centre, and was all praise for the efforts of the Chinese.

Significant progress has also been made on the trade front, and China may soon become India’s leading trade partner.

While addressing delegates at the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Summit, Mr. Singh said, “India and China are today the fastest growing large economies in the world. We should remember that China, India and Europe had almost equal shares of world income in the early 18th century. As the 21st century unfolds, both India and China stand poised to regain their weight in the global economy.”

As far as the long controversial border issue is concerned, no significant progress has been made, with both sides taking a diplomatic stance, and calling for a resolution.

On the military front, a lot of progress has been made, and joint exercises have been planned.

The question on everybody’s mind, i.e. China’s support for the nuke deal hasn’t been answered as yet, and Mr. Singh has been non committal on this issue. But, since the co-operation between the two nations is at its peak at present, one can say in most probability that China will not have any opposition to the nuke deal.

There has been considerable debate on whether China is supporting India’s bid for a UNSC permanent seat, but the Indian side is positive about China’s support.

Both countries have come a long way from the antagonistic years, and are making considerable progress. It has been more than 50 years since both countries have had diplomatic ties, and let’s hope that the future sees positive changes. After all, both China and India have 1/3rd of the world’s population, and will be a force to reckon with in the future. And that is an undisputable fact.

Devika Menon