The much-awaited hotline between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has become operational.

During two rounds of talks the two leaders held here on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, it was also decided that from now on the Foreign Ministers of the two countries will meet annually. Mr. Wen insisted that apart from attending the BRIC summit in Beijing next year, Dr. Singh should pay a stand-alone visit to China as part of a new mechanism of regular exchange of visits at the top level.

On Chinese support for India's quest to become a permanent member of the UNSC, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, briefing journalists, said: “China has said before it supports the interests of developing countries on enlarging the UNSC. India is the biggest country outside the UNSC. China very much paid attention to that aspect,'' she added.

Having achieved their earlier trade target, India and China have set their sights on a higher figure — $100 billion — over the next five years. But sources said there was no mention of how this would be achieved. To New Delhi's satisfaction, a joint statement issued on Thursday saw Beijing agreeing to gradually resolve the problems faced in China by three Indian star performers in the world market — pharmaceuticals, IT and agro products.

India and China also agreed to set up a CEO's forum and signed a banking agreement. But Indian resistance ensured the Chinese proposal for a regional trading arrangement found no mention in the joint communiqué.

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