Modi, Xi Put India-China Economic Ties Ahead of Border Tensions

Modi, Xi Put India-China Economic Ties Ahead of Border Tensions
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold a joint news conference in New Delhi on Sept. 18, 2014, after their talks (Kyodo via AP Images).

China pledged investments worth $20 billion to India and the two neighbors signed more than a dozen agreements and committed to settling their contentious border disputes during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s maiden official visit to India, which began Wednesday and ends today.

Over the next five years, China promised to help India upgrade its rail system and put in place high-speed train corridors. It has also promised to invest in roads and two industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharashtra states, and to give more market access to products from India. The two nations called for better people-to-people ties and more cultural exchanges, dedicating 2015 as “Visit India” year in China and vice versa for 2016. In addition, Xi agreed to opening a new route through the Nathu-La pass to Mount Kailash, a holy site for Hindus, to make it accessible by road.

“China and India will act as train engines in spearheading economic growth in the region,” Xi said at the joint press statement in New Delhi on Thursday. “I believe that the combination of China’s energy plus India’s wisdom will release massive potential,” he said earlier in his opinion piece published in The Hindu daily on Sept. 17.

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