India, China to study feasibility of economic corridor

24 Oct 2013


India and China have agreed to study the possibility of setting up an economic corridor between the two that would include Bangladesh and Myanmar as well.

The two countries have set up separate study groups on the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, pursuant to the understanding reached between prime ministers of the two countries in May 2013.

A Chinese delegation had visited India in this regard and the two sides have now proposed to further discuss concepts and alignment of the economic corridor.

Both India and China have agreed to continue  discussions among all the four countries to further this initiative, and hold the first BCIM joint study group meeting in December to study the specific programmes on building the BCIM Economic Corridor.

A statement issued after talks between visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the two leaders recognised that India and China are poised to enter a new stage of economic engagement based on pragmatic cooperation and mutually advantageous policies and practices.

"They expected the strategic economic dialogue during its meeting in November / December 2013 to work out specific projects and initiatives in areas that have already been broadly agreed upon," it said.

"Further discussions on concepts and alignment of the economic corridor are envisaged. Both India and China would continue to discuss with the other parties to this initiative, and hold the first BCIM Joint Study Group meeting in coming December to study the specific programs on building the BCIM Economic Corridor," the joint statement added.

A Joint Economic Group, it said, will continue to expand bilateral economic cooperation and promote a balanced growth of bilateral trade.

Singh, after meeting Li, said the Chinese Premier was receptive to his concern about the unsustainable trade balance between the two countries and they have agreed to explore avenues to bridge this gap.

"We are taking forward the suggestion made by Premier Li in New Delhi for a Chinese industrial park to act as a magnet for Chinese investment in India. We are also exploring the feasibility of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor connecting the two countries via the southern Silk Road," he said.

In 2012-13, India's exports to China stood at $13.53 billion and imports totalled $52.24 billion.

The joint statement further said efforts to conclude a framework agreement for the establishment of industrial zones to provide platforms of cluster type development for enterprises of the two countries would be expedited, adding that the economic agreements signed at the conclusion of the talks reflect the progress made since May 2013.

The two sides also agreed to review the state of the negotiation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), even as both countries agreed to look into the prospects of a bilateral Regional Trade Arrangement (RTA).

They also agreed to further strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral forums including Russia-India-China, BRICS, and G-20 to jointly tackle global issues such as climate change, international terrorism, food and energy security, and to establish a fair and equitable international political and economic system.

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