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article imageIndia, China seek to resolve border disputes at BRICS summit

By Sravanth Verma     Jul 15, 2014 in World
Fortaleza - The leaders of India and China, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the 6th BRICS summit to discuss border disputes and put aside contentious issues.
Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, "Any India and China discussion also takes into account the unresolved issue of the boundary question, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned that there was a need to address this. He said there was a need to find a solution to the boundary question and maintenance of peace and tranquility at the border was essential while both India and China work towards resolving this issue, that is the boundary question."
India and China have had numerous border disputes, including a serious border conflict after relations soured in 1962. China claims 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) in the eastern part of the Himalayan mountain range. India says China occupies 38,000 sq km of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas.
However, trade between the two countries is also highly active. China is India's second largest trade partner. India's largest trade deficit also happens to be with China, a fact that Modi raised and sought to rectify with Jinping. Akbaruddin said, "Prime Minister emphasized on economic linkages between the two countries. He spoke about infrastructure cooperation, references were made to industrial parks and the need to address trade deficit. On his part, President Xi did acknowledge that for trade ties to be sustainable there needs to be a much more balanced approach towards trade. He acknowledged that there were possibilities of enhance trade and services from India, possibilities of expansion of Indian exports and tourism."
China's President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry at t...
China's President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 10, 2014
Jim Bourg, Pool/AFP/File
Akbaruddin also said that Modi had suggested an extra route for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a major pilgrimage for Hindus. Mount Kailash is located in the Tibetan region, and Indian pilgrims must seek a Chinese visa to make the visit. China only offers 1080 visas every year to Indians entering China for the pilgrimage through the current trek route. Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited India and discussed tourism between the two countries among other things. The countries agreed to relax visa rules during his visit. "China-India cooperation is like a massive buried treasure waiting to be discovered,” Wang said on 10 June. “The potential is massive.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shake hands during ...
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shake hands during a meeting in New Delhi, Modi is hoping to charm Asian neighbours
Press Information Bureau, Press Information Bureau/AFP/File
Akbaruddin also spoke of Modi's discussion on terrorism. "He said that India and China should work together in terms of addressing terrorism and extremism in the region. In this context he also referred to our common civilization heritage and the possibilities of that common civilization heritage helping us in addressing this menace of terrorism."
Modi also invited Xi Jinping to India and the Chinese President might visit in September. Xi Jinping also invited Modi for a bilateral meeting and Modi is likely to visit China in November.
However, troubled waters still lie ahead. Both countries are vying to host the headquarters of the 100 billion USD BRICS bank. "It will be every country's desire, and so will it be India's, to have it in India, because Delhi or any city in India has its natural advantages, English-speaking, very skilled manpower, and if you look at the geographical position of all the BRICS countries, the five of them, India is very centrally located," said Nirmala Sitharaman, India's trade minister.
The sixth summit of the BRICS, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is being held in Brazil till July 16.
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