Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Indian, Chinese leaders confer

DELHI SUMMIT Hu Jintao and Manmohan Singh said their countries should work together to attain shared goals as the two powers signed 13 agreements

AP , NEW DELHI

India and China vowed to cement their increasingly closer ties and double bilateral trade to US$40 billion by 2010, the leaders of the two of the world's fastest-growing economies said yesterday after a summit in the Indian capital.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) is in India for a four-day visit designed to boost ties.

Speaking after the meeting, Hu and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there was enough room for both of the emerging powers to develop simultaneously, and the two countries should work together to foster their goals in the region.

Singh said they would also work to double their bilateral trade and would cooperate on civilian nuclear technology.

"We will endeavor to raise the volume of bilateral trade to US$40 billion by 2010 and encourage two-way investment flows," Singh said.

Despite political irritants, India-China economic ties have grown rapidly in recent years and two-way trade is projected to reach US$20 billion this year, up from almost nothing two decades ago.

It had been expected that New Delhi also seek China's backing for a civilian nuclear deal with the US. The deal seeks to give India access to the heavily regulated international market for nuclear fuel and technologies, and is likely to be put before the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group for approval early next year.

Singh said "cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy will be promoted," but did not elaborate.

The visit, the first by a Chinese president in a decade, also focused on seeking a resolution to political issues that divide the two countries, although no concrete steps were announced.

Hu said that efforts to resolve border disputes that remain from the 1962 Sino-Indian war will be intensified.

"We both believe that an early settlement on the boundary question serves the fundamental interest of our two countries," Hu said.

Talks have been going on for some 25 years.

Relations between the two also have been dogged by the presence in India of the Dalai Lama and 120,000 exiles from Tibet, as well as Beijing's strategic alliance with Pakistan.

No mention was made of Tibet at the summit and police fanned out across New Delhi yesterday to protect Hu and to prevent protesters embarrassing him.

"Police have imposed a ban on assembly of more than five persons in the areas to be visited by the Chinese president," New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.

In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman condemned recent protests by Tibetan exiles in New Delhi.

"We think that this is a negative effort made by followers of the Dalai Lama and an attempt to deceive and confuse public opinion," she said.

Four Tibetan protesters were arrested on Monday after holding up posters saying "Down with China" and "Freedom for Tibet" as Hu's convoy departed, said Dhondhup Dorjee, a Tibetan exile spokesman.

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