Modi Focuses on Trade, Gets China to Invest $22 Billion

Saturday, May 16, 2015
Chinese PM Li Keqiang (left) with Narendra Modi (photo: Twitter)

India has signed trade and economic co-operation deals worth $22 billion in Shanghai on the last leg of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China. The agreements cover a range of industries including renewable energy, the financial sector and ports.

Modi highlighted the complementarities of the two Asian giants, saying China was the factory of the world and India was the global back-office.

"Let us work together in mutual interests," Modi told his Chinese hosts. “We are very keen to develop the sectors where China is strong. We need your involvement. The scope and potential, the breadth and length of infrastructure and related developments is very huge in India,” he said during his address at the India-China Business Forum.

At the function in Shanghai, software giant Infosys unveiled the master plan of its new Shanghai campus and ICICI Bank announced the inauguration of its first bank branch in China.

Earlier, Modi had a closed-door meeting with 21 CEOs from across China’s leading companies, including Alibaba's Jack Ma. Modi assured them that his government would make it easy for them to do business in India.

“The CEOs voiced their interest to deepen focus on India as a market and a production base, and more fully integrate India into their global plans. They were invited to share suggestions for further enhancing business ties between the two countries,” an official statement said about the meeting.

China is India's biggest trading partner with bilateral trade totalling $71 billion in 2014. But India's trade deficit with China has soared from just $1 billion in 2001-02 to more than $38 billion last year. It’s not clear how much the new deals can help in reducing this deficit, according to Hindustan Times.

Officials said the figure of $22 billion included portions of the $20 billion of Chinese investment that was agreed during President Xi Jinping’s visit to India last September.

Modi's three-day China visit has witnessed a visible warming of ties between the two countries, but lingering problems remain, including tensions on the border, Chinese investments of $46 billion in Pakistan, and an increasingly assertive Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean.

On Friday, Modi held talks with his counterpart Li Keqiang and both sides agreed to seek a "fair resolution" to the border dispute.

- Karan Singh

To Learn More:

India and China sign $22bn-worth of deals as Modi ends visit (BBC News)

Modi visit: India, China expand biz footprint with deals worth $22bn (by Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times)

PM Modi in China: 24 key agreements signed between India-China (Economic Times)

Did Modi Just Take the Most Powerful Selfie in History? (by Joanna Sugden, The Wall Street Journal)


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