India open to Chinese investments in infra sector, says minister

17 Sep 2013


India is looking at the possibility of converting the huge balance of payments in favour of China to long-term investments in India's infrastructure sector, so as to cushion the adverse impact of the rising trade deficit with that country.

At the same time, India has strongly pitched for access to China's markets, especially in the pharma and IT sectors, to address the trade deficit, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said in New Delhi on Monday.

"We have in mind Chinese involvement, we encourage and welcome and seek for working closely in infrastructure in our country and at the same time, we are looking for greater market access in Chinese pharma and IT sector. This will provide more balance in trade between the two countries," Khurshid said at the inauguration of the first India China Media Forum.

"This matter (trade imbalance) was of high importance during Premier Li's visit, even as we work for balance of trade, investments will significantly compensate to some extent the importance of sustainable balance of trade," he said.

India's trade deficit with China has steadily grown to reach $27 billion in 2011 and further to $29 billion in 2012, according to Chinese trade data.

The minister said finding a solution to the trade imbalance was very important for "not only our economic exchanges but also our working together on many global issues and closer cooperation. I believe this is happening in many areas such as global trade regimes and climate change."

On future India-China ties, Khurshid said, "It is important how we see each other. Important thing is how we see ourselves.

"Will we see ourselves as rivals and competitors or will we see ourselves in multi-dimensional roles with each other collaborating, cooperating, competing, assisting, sharing and more importantly, if I can add an important word, 'caring' for each other."

Language, he said, is "important to reach out to each other, clear cobwebs of the misunderstandings of the past, present and even of the future."

Commenting on the role of the media, Khurshid said it remains a pillar of strength for India's independence and its democratic dimensions.

"Media is a pillar of strength of our country and democracy. Not necessarily in agreement with the government... We hope this interaction will help in constructive reporting and analysis methodology and understanding of each others' working systems," he said.

The minister urged media personnel from both sides to look at the possibility of devising a methodology which would allow trans-national or national interests to "prevail over the desire to report aggressively and extensively."

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