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Wednesday 17.01.2018 | Name days: Tenis, Dravis

China offers India a handshake across the Himalayas

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Author: AFP/SCANPIX

India and China will study new ways to ease tensions along their ill-defined border, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday in his first foreign trip since taking office, which comes just weeks after a military stand-off between the Asian giants in the Himalayas.

The number two in the Chinese leadership offered New Delhi a “handshake across the Himalayas” and said the world’s most populous nations could become a new engine for the global economy if they could avoid such irritants.

“Both sides believe that we need to improve the various border-related mechanisms that we have put into place and make them more efficient. We need to appropriately manage and resolve our differences,” Li said at a joint news conference with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, where both men appeared relaxed.

China and India disagree about large areas on their 4,000-km (2,500-mile) -long border and fought a brief but bloody war 50 years ago, Reuters wrote.

While there has not been a shooting incident in decades, the long-running dispute gets in the way of improving economic relations between neighbors, who account for 40 percent of the world’s population and whose fast growing markets stand in contrast to the stagnant economies of the West.

Bilateral trade reached $66 billion last year but both sides believe the potential is much greater. In a joint statement that seemed to address Indian gripes about its $29 billion deficit with China, they agreed to address the imbalance, with specific reference to pharmaceuticals, IT services and agriculture.

While most observers think it will take years to resolve the border dispute, recent statements from Beijing suggest China’s new leadership would like to speed things up, perhaps to shift its attention to disputes elsewhere in Asia, including the South China Sea.

Singh said negotiators will meet soon to seek an early agreement on a framework to settle the border, a goal that has so far eluded representatives in 15 rounds of high level negotiations since the 1980s.

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