Setting aside their border dispute, New Delhi and Beijing on Friday signed 24 agreements, which would, for the first time, spur a pervasive dialogue among Indian and Chinese states, cities and businesses as they become the key drivers of foreign policy with China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s introduction of a bottoms-up approach towards India’s engagement with China was evident from his remarks during the launch of the India-China Forum of State Provincial Leaders, with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra present at the event.
“A number of decisions can be taken quickly by the State governments. These interactions also make the State governments more sensitive and aware of the international dynamics and requirements,” the Prime Minister observed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the ceremonial welcome at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China on Friday.
Mr. Modi described India’s relationship with China as “one of our most important strategic partnerships”.
The forum, which seeks China as a partner to draw State-level businesses into the global mainstream, was launched after India made it plain that it wanted “to develop a more positive narrative of our relationship, and to build higher level of trust.”
‘No going back’ In a conversation with the media, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said that in Mr. Modi’s visualisation of the relationship with China, “there is no question of going back, but standing still was also not an option. The only way was to move forward.”
The omnibus communiqué, which emerged after the talks between Mr. Modi and his counterpart, Li Keqiang, at the Great Hall of the People, focussed on confidence-building measures that would ensure that the borders remain calm, while the Special Representatives of the two countries continue their marathon talks on resolving the boundary issue.