Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

India, China strike deals on Brahmaputra river, rice as relations thaw

India, China strike deals on Brahmaputra river, rice as relations thaw

India said a year ago that China had not stuck to an agreement to share hydrological data, or scientific information on the movement, distribution and quality of water for the Brahmaputra river.

"A historic moment for India and #SCO as India attends the meeting as full member for the first time".

The summit in this Chinese port city is taking place under the shadow of Washington's pull out from the Iran nuclear deal, its sanction regime against Russian Federation and frictions with China over the trade tariff dispute and diplomats said all these issues may figure at the summit as well as during deliberations on its sidelines. Chinese President Xi Jinping has been seeking a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, hoping to capitalize on Iranian estrangement from the G7 nations after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

"Despite competitive prices, India was unable to export rice to China due to their phytosanitary norms", said a New Delhi based dealer with a global trading firm, referring to food standards as well as animal and plant hygiene.

The foreign secretary said one of the important outcomes of Saturday's meeting was that the Chinese side accepted prime minister's invitation to President Xi to come to India for an informal summit next year, similar to the one held by the two leaders in Wuhan on 27-28 April.

The two met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State Summit in Qingdoa, China.

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Though new and old contentious issues remain, there has been a turnaround in bilateral ties since the military standoff was resolved last August. Diplomats said the summit is also likely to explore ways to deepen cooperation among the SCO member countries in dealing with threats of terrorism, extremism, and radicalisation besides delving into issues relating to trade, investment, and connectivity.

Apart from this, the two sides formally agreed to undertake a joint project in Afghanistan, pertaining to "capacity building".

India had said previous year that China did not stick to an agreement to share hydrological data, or scientific information on the movement and quality of water, for the Brahmaputra. "In that context a new people-to-people mechanism will be set up, headed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the Indian side and by State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. And both leaders made very positive assessment of the Wuhan summit", he said, adding that both the leaders agreed to keep open the strategic communication.

The two leaders also spoke about ensuring greater people-to-people contact, with Xi talking about the popularity of Indian films like Dangal, Bahubaali and Hindi Medium in China.

He said next round of Special Representative-level talks on boundary question will be held during second half of this year.

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