India, China to hold strategic dialogue on April 14

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Top diplomats from India and China would have in-depth exchange of views on a range of issues, including stability in war-torn Afghanistan and New Delhi's disquiet over the ballooning USD 35 billion trade deficit, during the sixth Strategic Dialogue here next week.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin will hold the talks on April 14.

The two sides will have in-depth exchanges on bilateral relations, high level exchanges, practical cooperation, international and regional issues of mutual concern during the dialogue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here today.

"This dialogue is an important activity under the China-India friendly exchanges of the year 2014. We believe it will enhance our strategic communication, friendly exchanges and practical cooperation and provide a strong boost to stable and sound relationship between the two countries," Hong said.

China is in touch with India to explore way forward in Afghanistan to deal with the war-ravaged country after the draw-dawn of the US-led NATO troops by the end of this year.

Like India, China too is concerned over the return of Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan which could have a destabilising effect on its Muslim Uygur Xinjiang province which is experiencing a spat of terrorist attacks.

India is expected to flag its concerns once again on USD 35 billion annual trade deficit and seek major opening for IT and Pharmaceutical products in Chinese markets besides investments from China.

In her talks with Chinese officials, Singh who is arriving here on April 12 is also expected to finalise plans to hold the year-long Glimpses of India festival across China.

She would also call on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Officials say the strategic dialogue between the two foreign ministries is a stock taking exercise of the status of bilateral ties, which showed upswing in the past few years and got a fillip after the new leadership headed by Xi Jinping took over power last year.

Chinese officials say that a number of initiatives from Beijing, including its planned investments in India in the proposed Chinese industrial parks to offset the trade deficit, besides cooperation to modernise Indian railways and energy sectors were expected to be taken after the new government is formed in New Delhi after the general elections.

President Xi has already conveyed his desire to visit India soon after the new government is formed.

Premier Li Keqiang's first foreign visit was to India after he took over the post last year.

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