Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on Saturday to strengthen commercial and security ties between the two Asian giants during an informal summit between the two held in the city of Chennai, in southern India.
Both leaders agreed to establish a "new mechanism to discuss trade, investment", as well as "intensify" their commitment to security issues, according to the Indian Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale, in a press conference following the bilateral meeting.
On the economic level, Gokhale explained that this mechanism of cooperation will be "high level" and will be led by Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Hu Chunhua and Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and will aim to "reduce the trade deficit" between both nations
In that regard, Xi said that "China is ready to take sincere measures," Gokhale said, recalling that the trade issue "has been a matter of concern" in India and noted that both countries will explore the "possibility of establishing partnerships. industrial "between companies on both sides of the Himalayas.
The Chinese president welcomed Indian investments in his country, especially in "the information and pharmaceutical technology sectors."
According to Gokhale, it was Xi himself who indicated the need to "intensify the commitment" in the area of security and defense to "increase mutual trust between the two armies and the security forces," and invited the Indian head of Defense, Rajnath Singh, to make an upcoming official visit to China.
Finally, Modi proposed that to strengthen relations between the two peoples they should "give greater emphasis to tourism in both directions," to which Xi responded positively, according to the Indian Foreign Secretary.
Although Gokhale confirmed that both leaders held a 90-minute private meeting on Saturday morning, which adds to what they already held on Friday, when the informal summit began, he said "categorically" that they did not address the situation in Cashmere.
This, after India rejected on Thursday the joint statement between China and Pakistan that mentioned the issue and was issued after a visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing.
As Gokhale reiterated today, Kashmir is "an internal issue of the country", referring to the abolition last August of the special status of semi-autonomy constitutionally enjoyed by the disputed region.
The decision was accompanied by an important military deployment and restrictions on the rights of assembly and free movement in Kashmir, as well as a blockade on mobile and internet communications, measures lifted mostly this Saturday.
India also showed its dissatisfaction with China's support for Pakistan, which controls part of Kashmir and with which it has disputed the territory in two wars and numerous minor conflicts.
This weekend is the second informal summit between India and China, after one held in April last year, eight months after the Chinese and Indian armies staged a border dispute in Doklam (a Himalayan area controlled by Beijing but claimed by Bhutan, country of the Indian political orbit).
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