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India, China agree to boost ties

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) Describing their relations as ''irreversible'' and taking these to a new high, India and China today agreed to quicken resolution of their long-standing border problem through peaceful and continued efforts, boost cooperation in various sectors including Civilian Nuclear Energy and step up bilateral trade to 40 billion US dollars by 2010.

The two countries also signed 13 pacts including the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA) and announced a ''ten-point strategy'' to intensify cooperation in nuclear and other areas.

Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who held talks here today focussing on bilateral relations and regional and multi-lateral issues, also agreed that the positive development of India-China relations in recent years must be made irreversible.

After their nearly three-hour ''open, cordial and constructive talks,'' the two sides signed 13 pacts including a the BIPA and a Protocol on the Establishment of Consulates-General at Kolkatta and Guangzhou.

A 'Joint Declaration' issued after the talks said the two leaders reiterated the shared vision and fundemantal principles for the future development of India-China relations as embodied in the Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation of June 23, 2003, and the Joint Statement of April 11, 2005, signed between the Prime Ministers of the two countries.

''Cooperation in the field of Civilian Nuclear Energy will be promoted,'' the Prime Minister said in his opening statement at a media interaction after his talks with President Hu.

China is an important member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), whose nod is essential for the implementation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.

The Chinese President arrived here yesterday on a four-day state visit to India. He will will go to Agra and Mumbai tomorrow.

He is scheudled to go to Islamabad from here.

After his talks with the Prime Minister and the lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in his honour, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee called on President Hu separately.

The Chinese President also participated in the commemoration of the China-India friendship Year.

Earlier in the morning, President Hu, who was given a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, said he looked forward to deepening bilateral relations and further developing strategic partnership with India.

''The purpose of my visit is to extend friendly ties, increase mutual trust, expand cooperation and chart a course for the future,'' he told reporters after the ceremonial reception.

After their talks at the Hderabad House, Dr Singh told reporters that he and President Hu had agreed that the positive development of India-China relations in recent years must be made irreversible.

This assertion also found XXX Eds; Picking up Third Para of DI 48, External--Lead India-China.

UNI RB VD GC1925

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