India, China to strengthen civilian nuclear cooperation

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New York, Sep 24 (UNI) Putting behind their misunderstandings at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), India and China today decided to strengthen civilian nuclear cooperation and encourage their special representatives (SRs) to continue discussions on the border dispute.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had an hour-long bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, expressed satisfaction at the increasing trade.

He said he hoped that the 60 billion dollar trade target for 2010 set initially could be now achieved at least a year in advance.

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, while briefing mediapersons at the New York Palace Hotel here where the meeting was held, said the two leaders also discussed regional and international issues.

On the boundary question, they expressed satisfaction on the progress achieved so far and encouraged their SRs to continue discussions.

To a question on China's recent opposition to a waiver for India at the NSG, the Foreign Secretary said China had joined the consensus at the NSG and without its support it could not have been achieved.

Asked whether the question of Pakistan also came up, Mr Menon said, ''not directly''. Elaborating, he said it came up as part of regional issues.

The Foreign Secretary said the two leaders had a very warm and friendly meeting, the seventh in the past four and a half years, and that there was a personal rapport between them.

They also exchanged views on how large countries like India and China could approach various challenges and work together as both countries constitute two-fifths of the world population.

They also emphasised on growing ties and the need to continue consultation between them.


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