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China, India step up work on eastern economic corridor
September 26, 2013, 9:03 am


India and China continue to work on resolving a historical border dispute [AP]

China and India are working to speed up the construction of the economic corridor linking China, Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New York.

Consultations have been held on the feasibility of a BCIM economic corridor, a region host to 40 per cent of the world’s population.

China is keen on developing an ‘international highway’ that will connect both countries to China’s Yunnan province and end in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata through Bangladesh.

Wang met his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday.

The Chinese foreign minister said his country would coordinate with India on Syria and the Iranian nuclear issue, which are dominating proceedings at the UNGA.

The two foreign ministers have met four times this year and Yang said, “each time they found the China-India strategic cooperative partnership was gathering pace and making progress”.

Both sides have fixed a bilateral trade target of $100 billion by 2015.

The two fastest growing economies in the world are also advancing cooperation on railway and industrial complex projects, Wang announced on Wednesday.

India and China also begun a series of five high-level consultations which will be held over the next five days.

Issues raised will range from trade and finance to the boundary dispute, with the aim of laying the groundwork for the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s expected visit to China in October.

Major trade agreements are expected to be announced during Singh’s strategic visit even as Beijing and New Delhi have in recent months seen a flurry of high-profile state visits, including that of defence ministers and foreign ministers.

Wang said during his meet with Khurshid that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in May has injected strong impetus into bilateral ties.

The Chinese minister said at present the two sides are working to build on “the outcomes of the visit, deepen pragmatic cooperation, enhance mutual trust and search solutions on pending issues”.

Both sides are currently in talks over a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, likely to be announced formally during Singh’s trip.

The Indian External Affairs Minister Khurshid categorised the India-China relationship as “one of the most important bilateral relations in the world”.

Khurshid said that the two countries share similar concerns and common interests on major global or regional issues, and that India is ready to strengthen cooperation with China on hotspot issues.

India and China, alongwith other BRICS partners have resolutely opposed military intervention in Syria and have stressed for dialogue in the Iranian standoff with the West.

With inputs from Agencies