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Russia, China most important partners- India PM
October 20, 2013, 5:53 am

Developments on the BRICS Bank work, largely credited as the Indian Prime Minister's initiative, and greater BRICS cooperation will be discussed during Singh's visit to the two countries [AP]

Developments on the BRICS Bank will be discussed during Singh’s visit to the two countries [AP]

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said China and Russia are India’s “most important partners”, and the three nations have to guard “common strategic interests”.

In a statement prior to his departure for Moscow and Beijing, Singh said India is keen on deepening cooperation with Russia on “international issues”.

“India and Russia have always had a convergence of views on global and regional issues, and we value Russia’s perspective on international developments of mutual interest. I look forward to exchanging views with President Putin on a broad range of international developments, including the conflict and turbulence in West Asia as also closer to India, particularly in Afghanistan,” he said.

Singh will attend the 14th Russia-India annual summit at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his first stop Moscow.

India and Russia share traditional ties with cooperation in defence, nuclear energy, science and technology, hydrocarbons, trade and investment.

The Indian prime minister also said he is keen on continuing discussions with the new leadership of China during the next leg of his trip.

“China is our largest neighbour and one of our top trading partners. In my last 9 years in office as Prime Minister, I have worked closely with Chinese leaders to establish a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership and put in place comprehensive mechanisms for cooperation and dialogue and to address bilateral issues between our two countries,” Singh said in his statement on Sunday.

India and China have set a trade target of $100 billion by 2015.

The two fastest growing economies in the world have raised shared concerns about the loose monetary policy of developed countries, including the US Federal Reserve’s plans to end a $85 billion a month stimulus programme that has prompted a massive capital flight in emerging economies.

Meanwhile, India and China could also be working towards utilisation of trans-border river waters during Singh’s visit.

India and China do not have any water-sharing agreements, but instead have instituted a mechanism to exchange data on trans-border rivers through a working group including information on the measurement of flows.

Singh also said in his statement that the two sides have “reached important consensus on maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border and made preliminary progress towards settlement of the India-China Boundary Question”.

Singh admitted that the border dispute with China is a “historical issue” but the two governments will not let them “affect the overall atmosphere of friendship and cooperation”.

The two sides are expected to sign a key border defence agreement during Singh’s visit.

New Delhi is pushing Beijing to import more products and greater market access as the trade imbalance is heavily tilted in favor of China.

In 2012-13, India recorded a record trade deficit of $40.78 billion with China.

China and India are also working to speed up the construction of the economic corridor linking China, Bangladesh, India and Myanmar(BCIM), asserted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New York last week.

Singh on Sunday said that stability is key to the growth of India, China and the region.

“As the world’s two most populous nations and largest emerging economies, India and China today have a growing congruence of regional, global and economic interests, driven by our respective developmental aspirations and shaped by the evolving strategic environment,” he added.

The two Asian giants had recently held a strategic dialogue on Central Asia, focusing on their “very similar” approaches to regional and energy security in the strategically important region.

A series of high-profile meetings including visits by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India in March and Indian Defence and External Affairs Minister to Beijing earlier have boosted ties between the two neighbours.

The BRICS Post

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