Second India-China strategic economic dialogue set to forge stronger bilateral ties

New Delhi, Nov.26 (ANI): The second India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) began in New Delhi on Monday, with a focus on forging a stronger bilateral relationship between the two neighbours, especially in the light of a change of guard in Beijing.

The Indian side was led by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, while the Chinese team was led by Zhang Ping, the Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The purpose of the meet is to increase engagement in areas such as infrastructure and high-technology sectors against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown.

The two sides are expected to sign agreements to further cement cooperation.

Ping said that the objective of the meet was to increase coordination on macro economic policies and provide a platform to both countries to leverage similar interests.

India is only the second country after the United States with which China holds such a dialogue, the idea for which was brought up during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India in December 2010.

"China- India strategic and economic dialogue is established, following the agreement reached by Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Singh, during Premier Wen's visit to India in the year 2010. Last year in September, the first round S and ED was successfully held in China. In the last one year, both sides have made preparations for the second meeting and during this meeting, both sides will not only communicate on macro economic policies of both sides, but also try to promote the economic and trade cooperation between our two countries," he said.

The talks follow the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Jiabao in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, during which Singh had sought increased Chinese investment in India.

Ping said that the outcome of the dialogue would be far reached, benefit people of both developing countries to enhance potential for greater cooperation.

"China and India are very big, developing countries in the world and at the same time, we are close neighbours. I believe that between our two countries, there is great room and potential to enhance our cooperation. I am also confident that this dialogue will serve as a platform to promote our cooperation, to promote development of our two countries and also to benefit the people of our two countries," he said.

Recently, the latest twist in tension in Asia over China's territorial claims-China's new microchip-equipped passports contain a map that marks its claims over disputed waters and also show as its territory two Himalayan regions that India also claims.

The map means countries disputing the Chinese claims will have to stamp microchip-equipped passports of countless visitors, in effect acquiescing to the Chinese point of view.

In response, India is issuing visas stamped with its own version of the borders.

India and China fought a brief, high-altitude border war in 1962.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have held multiple rounds of talks to resolve their disputed Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh regions where they fought the war but have made little progress. (ANI)