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India Voices Concerns to China Over Ballooning Trade Deficit at US $ 30 Billion

By TN Ashok  / Diplomatic Editor


New Delhi, June 29 : India today voiced serious concerns to China over its ballooning trade deficit with it at US $ 30 billion and the consequent tilting of balance of payments in its favour and appealed to open up its markets for Indian goods so that the imbalance is corrected. India also flagged its concerns to top Chinese leadership over Beijing’s new feasibility study launched to build a rail link between Pakistan and China through PoK.


These concerns were voiced by the visiting Vice President Hamid Ansari during his talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Ansari is on a five-day visit to China to take part in the 60th anniversary of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence propounded by the two countries along with Myanmar in 1954.


India’s Foreign Secretary Ms Sujata Singh told newsmen that all outstanding issues between India and China were addressed and that India told China that the new government in India continues to give priority to its relations with China. “We also expect all the outstanding issues to be addressed speedily,” Ms Singh said.


On whether continued incursions by Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were discussed, Ms Singh said both sides agreed that peace and tranquillity be maintained.  On China recently showing Arunachal Pradesh as its territory in its latest map, Singh referred to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi which said “cartographic depiction” does not change the facts on the ground.

“Our position on the areas that have been shown in the map is well known,” she said.


On the issue of China commissioning a feasibility study to build a rail link with Pakistan through PoK, the Foreign Secretary said these issues were raised with Chinese interlocutors.

There has been series of high level exchanges, Singh said. “Our relationship has reached a degree of maturity where we raise issues of our concern and they raise their issues. I do not want to go into details,” she said.


The two leaders also discussed the need to address the trade deficit with New Delhi maintaining that it was not sustainable. Li told Ansari that India should identify products which could sell in Chinese markets.

For his part, Vice President Ansari pointed out that some Indian products faced market access problems and China needs to redress the issue, Ms Singh said.


Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted neighbours India and Myanmar on Saturday, removing the cobwebs of a rather moribund obscure agreement Panchsheel signed in the early days of the Cold War to wrest China’s commitment to peace. In  1954, China, India and Myanmar signed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, primarily launched by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Chinese counterpart Chou En La, i promising mutual non-aggression and non-interference in internal affairs, ideals then incorporated into the Non-Aligned Movement of countries who did not wish to ally with either the United States or the Soviet Union.

China’s ties with India and Myanmar, then known as Burma, however soured in the 1960s, as China and India fought a border war. Myanmar’s military rulers presided over torrid anti-Chinese riots, events that have affected Myanmar China relations even today.  Diplomatic sources observe that in recent times China’s mighty diplomatic and military clout has rustled feathers as evidenced by Beijing’s strident moves to gain supremacy for itself in territorial disputes in the East China Sea with Japan and in the South China Sea with countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.

“China would never try to impose its will no matter how strong it becomes, “China’s President Xi Jinping asserted in a strong rebuttal to international concerns on the issue in the presence of Myanmar President Thein Sein and Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.”China does not subscribe to the notion that a country is bound to seek hegemony when it grows in strength. Hegemony or militarism is not in the genes of the Chinese. China will unswervingly pursue peaceful development because it is good for China, good for Asia and good for the world,” Xi said.

“The notion of dominating international affairs belongs to a different age, and such attempts are doomed to failure,” Xi said.  “Flexing military muscles only reveals a lack of moral ground or vision, rather than reflecting one’s strength. Security can be solid and enduring only if it is based on moral high ground and vision,” international agencies said quoting him.

The Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported that Xi will try to convince Asia that China’s intentions are really peaceful. “Talking about frontier defence, one cannot help thinking about China’s modern history when the country was so weak and destitute that it was for everyone to bully,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. “Foreign aggressors broke China’s land and sea defences hundreds of times, plunging the Chinese nation into the abysm of calamity,” Xi added, calling on people not to forget the “history of humiliation” and strengthen the borders, especially at sea.

Whatever international observers say about China,  Xi was very warm in his praise for India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi of 100 days is seeking to strengthen India’s military might and bolster its economy, so as to react more decisively in foreign relations than his predecessor, the mild-mannered Manmohan Singh.

“In one of his poems, Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet, wrote that if you think friendship can be won through war, spring will fade away before your eyes,” he said, referring to the Bengali Nobel Literature laureate. Xi noted that Myanmar, whose president has irritated China by suspending a major Chinese-invested dam project and seeking closer ties with the United States, was the first country to sign a border agreement with China, in 1960.

“The people of India, Myanmar and other Asian countries also cherish the values of love, kindness and peace,” he said.