Mamallapuram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday continued their conversation from where they left off the previous day, as part of their informal summit meeting on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
Modi is not just expected to urge Xi to import more pharmaceuticals and agricultural goods from India, but is also expected to bat for enhancing the services trade between the countries, sources told ThePrint.
Hence, China is expected to relax visa restrictions for Indian tourists and professionals for a greater people-to-people connect, sources said.
On Day 1, both leaders spent some “quality time” together, with Modi seeking greater investments from China as well as expansion of two-way trade, in order to address India’s trade deficit concerns, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said.
Bilateral trade in goods between India and China stood at $87 billion in 2018-19. However, India’s trade deficit is about $53.56 billion.
Beijing is insistent that New Delhi must now sign the mega free-trade pact Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP, the talks for which began in 2012.
The last and final round of RCEP negotiations are underway in Bangkok. Member countries plan to conclude the talks in November.
However, India is facing severe backlash from its domestic constituencies to sign the pact, as it involves China.
India and China are both members of the RCEP along with 10 ASEAN nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — and their trade partners — Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Also read: India isn’t China’s economic or military equal but Mamallapuram lets Modi stand as tall as Xi
Huawei & 5G
China is also expected to ask India to consider its Huawei Technologies for the country’s 5G mobile telephony network rollout.
India plans to run 5G trials soon and Huawei is expected to team up with Airtel and Vodafone for this. The Chinese firm plans to set up a handset manufacturing plant in Chennai.
Recently, at the World Economic Forum, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal stated: “Huawei over the last 10 or 12 years has become extremely good with their product, to a point where I can safely say today their product is significantly superior to Ericsson and Nokia.”
Article 370 & boundary issues
President Xi is also expected to speak about the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh.
Boundary issues between the countries are also expected to come up for discussion. India and China both have a different perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which covers the entire 3,488 km-long border between the neighbours.
Modi begins day by ‘plogging’
Modi began the day by “plogging” at a Mamallapuram beach — cleaning up plastic bottles and other waste products.
“Plogging at a beach in Mamallapuram this morning. It lasted for over 30 minutes. Also handed over my ‘collection’ to Jeyaraj, who is a part of the hotel staff. Let us ensure our public places are clean and tidy! Let us also ensure we remain fit and healthy,” the Prime Minister tweeted with a video of his walk.
Plogging at a beach in Mamallapuram this morning. It lasted for over 30 minutes.
Also handed over my ‘collection’ to Jeyaraj, who is a part of the hotel staff.
Let us ensure our public places are clean and tidy!
Let us also ensure we remain fit and healthy. pic.twitter.com/qBHLTxtM9y
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 12, 2019
Also read: Increasing trade and combating terrorism the main takeaways from Day 1 of Modi-Xi summit
Huawei would be good for the growth of India’s telecom sector. If there are security related concerns, the intelligence agencies will deal with them. China would not put one of its stars out of business by misusing the access it provides. 2. As the rivalry between America and China intensifies, many such binaries will emerge. India should, on a case by case basis, choose the right fork in the road.
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