India to ease way for Chinese businesses, Modi visit in May

Beijing: India will make it easier for Chinese companies to do business in the country as it seeks to take bilateral economic ties with China to "a qualitatively new level", External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Sunday, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the country in May.

PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi

Sushma Swaraj told the media here that the prime minister will visit China in May before the BJP-led government completes one year in office. The external affairs minister Sunday held talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on a range of issues including Modi's upcoming visit.

Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the two leaders discussed how to make the prime minister's visit "an outcome oriented visit". Sushma Swaraj said her maiden visit to China was focused on opening the additional route for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra.

In her address at the launch of the second India-China Media Forum, Sushma Swaraj appreciated China's decision to open the additional route through Nathula. She suggested a six-point template including "action-oriented approach" to boost mutual ties. The Modi government was committed to exploring an early settlement to the India-China boundary row, she added.

Noting that China was India's largest partner in trade and goods and the two economies are moving to invest in each other, she said: "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." "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 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".

The minister said the media forum was envisaged as a platform to encourage appreciation and build understanding of each other's societies in their respective media. "As our strategic and cooperative relationship deepens in the bilateral domain and expands in regional and international cooperation, it is vital that or people have a good understanding of each other's interests and viewpoints."

She outlined a six-point template for boosting ties including action-oriented approach, broad-based bilateral engagement, convergence on common regional and global interests, developing new areas of cooperation, expanding strategic communication and fulfilling common aspirations to usher an "Asian Century".

"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 the Modi government had commenced "a number of key initiatives addressing a wide range of ambitious goals" which "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."

"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." Sushma Swaraj, who will Monday launch the "2015: Visit India Year" in China, said Chinese monks Fa Hsien and Xuan Zang had visited India in search of knowledge and Indian monks Kashyap Matanga, Dharmaratna and many others travelled to China to spread knowledge.

"It is important for us to revive the Xuan Zang spirit among Chinese scholars and journalists and Kumarjiva spirit among Indian scholars and journalists," she said. During the three-day visit, Sushma Swaraj will also participate in the 13th foreign ministers' meeting of Russia-India-China trilateral. She will also call on the Chinese president.

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