China PM on India charm offensive, offers trade boost

NEW DELHI,  (Reuters) – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao   pressed on with a charm offensive in India yesterday,   offering support for New Delhi’s bid for a greater role in the   United Nations and agreeing on an ambitious target of $100   billion in trade between the rising Asian powers by 2015.   

Relations between the world’s two fastest growing major   economies are tense, despite the booming trade relationship   between them. Nearly 40 years after they fought a war there   are still rifts over disputed borders, and suspicion in New   Delhi over China’s regional ambitions and its close ties with   arch-rival, Pakistan.  
 
But both Wen and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh   exchanged vows of amity and goodwill, appearing to brush under   the carpet a series of differences that have dogged relations   for decades.  
 
“I believe with our joint efforts, through the visit,   we’ll be able to raise our friendship and cooperation to a   high level in the new century,” said Wen, standing alongside   Singh at the Indian presidential palace after a formal   red-carpet welcome ceremony.   

Wen’s visit, the first by a Chinese premier to India in   five years, has looked carefully choreographed to improve ties   between two countries that between them are home to more than   a third of the world’s population.

At least 34 Tibetan protesters were arrested for taking   part in anti-China demonstrations in New Delhi yesterday.   

Arriving with more than 300 business leaders on Wednesday,   Wen said that India and China were not rivals and there was   room in the world for both powers to develop.   

“There is a trust deficit, a trade deficit but certainly   not a charm deficit,” said broadcaster CNN IBN Deputy Editor   Sagarika Ghose.  Singh responded in kind to Wen’s effusive words before   they went into a meeting behind closed doors: “A strong   partnership between India and China will contribute to   long-term, peace, stability, prosperity and development in   Asia and the world.”  
 
China’s willingness to increasingly engage with India on   key issues such as their dispute over boundaries, as well as   free trade talks, could stem from a realisation in Beijing   that China needs India’s support in increasingly significant   international platforms such as the G20.       The two sides said they wanted bilateral trade   to cross $100 billion by 2015 from $60 billion in 2010, partly   driven by greater access for Indian firms to Chinese markets.

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