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Indo China Flags THMB India, China ink key border pact; to boost economic ties

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Ranjana Narayan | 23 Oct, 2013
Six months after their tense, three-week border stand-off, India and China Wednesday inked a key accord to secure peace along their disputed border, besides a slew of other agreements for boosting economic cooperation as their leaders concurred they have "more common interests than differences".

Besides the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), India and China concluded eight other agreements as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met for talks in the cavernous Great Hall of the People.

The BDCA comes after Chinese troops intruded inside Indian territory in Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir April 16, leading to a three-week face-to-face situation that was resolved after hectic negotiations. Repeated incidents on the Line of Actual Control are ascribed to "differing perceptions" of their often unmarked 4,000-km boundary.

Premier Li, who in May visited India, said he was "sure" the border deal will help to restore peace and tranquility in the border areas.

Manmohan Singh said both sides are in agreement that peace and tranquility on the border "must remain the foundation for growth in India-China ties" and both should continue negotiations for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement.

"This will be our strategic benchmark."

Both sides also signed an agreement on trans-border rivers, with China agreeing to share hydrological information on the Brahmaputra for 15 more days and also to discuss "other issues" - in a tacit agreement of India’s lower riparian rights. India has consistently voiced its concerns about China's dam building activity upstream on the Brahmaputra.

China also became a signatory to the establishment of the Nalanda University, coming up in Bihar, under the aegis of the East Asia Summit. Both sides inked an agreement on cooperation on road transport, and on setting up of sister cities - between Delhi-Beijing, Bangalore-Chengdu and Kolkata-Kunming.

According to the border agreement, troops of India and China will not tail each other’s patrols and during face-to-face situations both sides will exercise maximum self-restraint. It also envisages a hot line between the headquarters of the two armies, the right to ask for clarifications about the other side's troops activity and getting the troops into "more friendly" interactions with each other.

It reiterates that "neither side shall use its military capability against the other side and their respective military strengths shall not be used to attack the other side".

Premier Li said that he and Manmohan Singh were in agreement that both have "more common interests than differences" and both have confidence that the leadership of both sides "have the ability to manage differences along the border".

Manmohan Singh said that both agreed "that the prosperity and progress of 2.5 billion Indian and Chinese people would be a major factor of Asian resurgence and global prosperity and stability".

Both sides have resolved to "realize the full promise of our partnership and maintain the friendliest of relations. This will be our strategic vision".

Reflecting on their ties with other countries, both agreed that their independent foreign policies with other countries "must not become a source of concern for each other. This will be our strategic reassurance".

Premier Li said both agreed on strategic defence cooperation and to hold joint counter terrorism exercises in southwest China as well as joint maritime exercises at an early date, and in countering terrorism.

On trade and economic issues, Li said both sides agreed to make full use of their existing mechanisms and China was ready to expand its foray in infrastructure development, including in railways, in India. He also pushed for the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor to link up between their two countries.

He said China is keen to establish industrial zones in India to expand Chinese investments in India and make two-way trade "more dynamic".

Both sides also inked an agreement on cultural exchanges.

Li said the agreement on sister cities would give a "strong boost to cooperation" and "inject more dynamism to China India relations".

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