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Stage set for India-China summit

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. AFP

Stage set for India-China summit

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Chennai on Friday for their second informal summit in the southern Indian city of Chennai.

The Chennai summit will provide them with the opportunity to continue discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues and exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

China on Tuesday said that it encourages its companies to invest in India and hopes that New Delhi will provide a more fair, friendly and convenient business environment for Chinese firms to operate in the country.

More than a thousand Chinese companies have invested $8 billion in India and created 200,000 local jobs, and they must get a “more fair and friendly” business environment, said Beijing’s ambassador to New Delhi Sun Weidong.

On the growing trade deficit between the two nations, the envoy said that Beijing has never pursued a trade surplus, and the trade imbalance between China and India is largely the result of differences in their industrial structures.

The Chinese envoy stressed for the need to go beyond the model of differences management, actively shape bilateral relations and accumulate positive energy. “We should enhance exchanges and cooperation, promote convergence of interests and achieve common development,” he added.

Modi and Xi had their inaugural informal summit in Wuhan, China in April, last year, months after a 73-day long face-off between the armies of the two countries raised fears of a war between the two Asian giants.

Meanwhile, ahead of the informal summit between the two leaders, Beijing has moderated its stand on Kashmir, saying the issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.

The Chinese envoy to New Delhi said that the two nations need to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas before the final settlement of the matter.

“It is normal for neighbours to have differences,” he said, adding that the key is to properly handle differences and find a solution through dialogue and consultation.

“Over the past decades, no single bullet has been fired at the China-India border area. Peace and tranquillity have been maintained,” the envoy observed.

“We need to keep it in the larger picture of China-India relations and do not let the boundary dispute affect the normal development of bilateral relations,” he added.

“China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent. We call on India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and consultation on all issues including Kashmir issue and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with the interest of both countries and common aspiration of the world,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.

China also refrained from mentioning the UN Security Council resolution and UN charter, as it had done earlier in its statements on Kashmir, including at the UN General Assembly last month.