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China, India agree on "strategic partnership"
BEIJING, April 12 (Xinhuanet) -- China and India have agreed to establish a "strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity" between them, according to a joint statement signed by premiers of the two countries in New Delhi Monday.

    The statement, signed by visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said that the two premiers agreed that China-India relations have now acquired a "global and strategic character."

    Wen is paying an official visit to India from April 9 to 12 at Singh's invitation, the last leg of his four south Asian nation tour which has also taken him to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

    "The leaders of the two countries have, therefore, agreed to establish a China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity," the statement said.

    "Such a partnership is based on the principles of Panchsheel, mutual respect and sensitivity for each other's concerns and aspirations, and equality; provides a sound framework for an all around and comprehensive development of bilateral relations based on mutual and equal security, development and prosperity of the two peoples; and contributes to jointly addressing global challenges and threats," the statement said.

    According to the statement, the two sides agreed that China-India relations have entered a new stage of comprehensive development.

    The two sides also reiterated their intention to promote regular ministerial-level exchanges and make full use of the China-India strategic dialogue and other bilateral dialogue mechanisms, the statement added.

    The statement said the year of 2005 marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India, and to mark the occasion, the two countries will organize aseries of commemorative activities.

    China and India have agreed that an all-round expansion of economic cooperation between the two countries constitutes an important dimension of their stronger relationship and they should make joint efforts to increase bilateral trade volume to 20 billion US dollars or higher by 2008.

    The two sides welcomed the report of the Joint Study Group (JSG) that was set up to examine the potential complementarities between the two countries in expanded trade and economic cooperation.

    The JSG in its Report has identified a series of measures related to trade in goods, trade in services, investments and other areas of economic cooperation, and recommended their expeditious implementation to remove impediments and facilitate enhanced economic engagement between China and India.

    The Prime Ministers agreed to appoint a Joint Task Force to study in detail the feasibility of, and the benefits that may derive from, the China-India Regional Trading Arrangement and give recommendations regarding its content, the statement said.

    The two sides also agreed to further promote the cooperation in the spheres of education, science and technology, health care, information, tourism, youth exchange, agriculture, dairy development, sports and other fields on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity.

    The statement also said that the two sides noted the useful exchanges and interaction in the military field and decided to further promote such exchanges and interaction.

    China and India have reiterated their readiness to seek a fair,reasonable and mutually acceptable solution, through equal and friendly consultations and proceeding from the overall interests of bilateral relations in the settlement of the boundary question.

    The two sides expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the discussions between the Special Representatives of the two countries and welcomed the conclusion of the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question.

    Pending a final resolution, the two sides will continue to make joint efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas in accordance with the Agreements of 1993 and 1996, the joint statement said.

    Both sides agreed that while continuing the discussions betweenthe Special Representatives, it is also important that the Joint Working Group (JWG) continues its work to seek an early clarification and confirmation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

    Progress made so far on the clarification of the LAC in the China-India border areas was noted. It was agreed to complete the process of exchanging maps indicating their respective perceptions of the entire alignment of the LAC on the basis of already agreed parameters, with the objective of arriving at a common understanding of the alignment, as soon as possible, the statement said.

    The two sides expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in the implementation of the agreements of 1993 and 1996 and agreed to fully implement them expeditiously.

    Towards that end, they concluded a Protocol on Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas.

    In the joint statement, the Indian side reiterated that it recognized the Tibet Autonomous Region as part of the territory of the People's Republic of China and that it did not allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in India.

    The Indian side recalled that India was among the first countries to recognize that there is one China and its one China policy remains unaltered. The Indian side stated it would continue to abide by its one China policy.

    Both sides reviewed with satisfaction the implementation of the memorandum on the border trade through the Nathula Pass between the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China and the Sikkim State of the Republic of India.

    The two large Asian neighbors have expressed in the joint statement their desire to develop "closer and more extensive" understanding and cooperation in regional and international affairs.

    "Aware of their linked destinies as neighbors and the two largest countries of Asia, both sides agreed that they would, together, contribute to the establishment of an atmosphere of mutual understanding, trust and cooperation in Asia and the world at large, and facilitate efforts to strengthen multilateral coordination mechanisms on security and cooperation," said the statement.

    As two large developing countries, China and India were both aware of each other's important role in the process of promoting the establishment of a new international political and economic order, it said.

    The statement noted that the two sides are supportive of democratization of international relations and multilateralism, stand for the establishment of a new international political and economic order that is fair, rational, equal and mutually beneficial, and promote North-South Dialogue and South-South Cooperation.

    They agreed in the statement that reform of the United Nations should be comprehensive and multi-faceted and should put emphasis on an increase in the representation of developing countries.

    According to the document, the Indian side reiterated its aspirations for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, and the Chinese side also reiterated that India is an important developing country and is having an increasingly important influence in the international arena.

    The two sides resolutely condemn terrorism in any form, admit that the struggle between the international community and global terrorism is a comprehensive and sustained one.

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