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India, China need to increase cooperation in all existing fora, including UN, G-20: Montek

02:54 PM Jun 01, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

Beijing: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said both India and China need to increase cooperation in all existing fora, including the United Nations (UN) and the Group of Twenty (G-20), to ensure that the system changes in a way which supports New Delhi’s development objectives.

In his opening remarks at the Strategic Economic Dialogue in China, Ahluwalia said: “Both India and China have a strong interest in the evolution of an international economic order which is supportive of development. The global environment is changing, with emerging market countries gaining economic weight.

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This process will continue. However, international institutions have not yet changed sufficiently to reflect this process. We need to increase our cooperation in all existing fora, including the UN and the G-20, to ensure that the system changes in a way which supports our development objectives.”

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“We also need to enhance our bilateral economic cooperation with expanding trade, investment and financial cooperation. The strategic economic dialogue is an important instrument in this. It helps to identify areas of common interest with specific projects for implementation,” he added.

Ahluwalia further said: “I believe the working groups we set up have made significant progress towards this end. I am particularly happy to see that discussions in the area of cooperation in the railways have produced three specific proposals.”

“These are proposals for railway station redevelopment, for raising the speed of passenger trains in India, and for heavy haul freight. Modernisation of Indian railway is a critical objective for India, which will contribute to energy efficiency and also climate sustainability,” he added.

Asserting that our 12th Five year Plan emphasized the importance of national investment manufacturing zones and the development of industrial clusters, Ahluwalia said: “We would be happy to explore a possibility of China setting up or participating in the establishment of an industrial park in India to encourage clustering of Chinese firms which will provide economies of scale and management.

“The Government of India will work pro-actively with your government to identify locations for such parks,” he added.

Stating that our government is focusing strongly on enhancing connectivity within India and with our neighbours, particularly with South East and East Asia, Ahluwalia said: “With the opening up of Myanmar, the possibilities have increased manifold.

The proposed BCIM economic corridor connecting Kolkata with Kunming is a case in point for working towards greater economic collaboration through enhanced trade, transit and investment linkages.”

“We are happy to note the progress which has been achieved in the first meeting of the four countries in Kunming last December. India looks forward to hosting the third meeting of the Joint Study Group established for this purpose at the end of 2014,” he added.

Emphasizing that trade is an important indicator of economic cooperation and we are happy at the remarkable expansion that has taken place, Ahluwalia said: “ With a little more effort, we can reach the target of USD 100 billion which our governments have set for 2015. I must, at his stage, mention the growing imbalance in our trade which is a cause of concern in India.”

“We recognize that trade does not have to be balanced between each pair of countries. However, India’s trade deficit over the last three successive years has been in excess of $35 billion per annum which is not sustainable.

It needs to be reduced to sustainable levels by more exports from India to China, and also by Chinese building manufacturing capacities from India for goods it currently export,” he added.

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