India, China to sign border deal

A visit by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India is expected to settle a decades-old border dispute dogging the two countries.

    Wen(L) to discuss expansion of trade with Singh

    Senior officials from both countries have thrashed out an agreement on an 11-point plan setting out guidelines for resolving the boundary dispute over their 3500km Himalayan border, newspapers reported on Monday. 

    Relations between the nuclear powers, who fought a brief war in 1962 over the border issue, have steadily improved and their rapid emergence as economic superpowers is forming a strong foundation for greater cooperation. 

    A final settlement on the border issue could still be years away although both sides appear to be moving towards accepting the status quo, with some small changes. 

    Chinese map

    India's The Hindu newspaper reported that Wen brought an official Chinese map for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh showing the tiny Himalayan region of Sikkim as part of India instead of a separate country as it had been depicted in the past. 

    "It is true India has the advantage in software and China in hardware. If India and China cooperate in the IT industry, we will be able to lead the world"

    Wen Jiabao,
    Chinese prime minister

    China has never officially recognised India's 1975 annexation of the territory, once an independent princely kingdom. 

    No details of the agreed road map have yet been released. 

    Wen and his 150-strong delegation will also discuss how to expand trade between two of the world's largest economies, with the eventual establishment of a free trade zone on the agenda of the four-day trip. 

    IT boom

    The Chinese leader's first stop in India was the southern hi-tech capital of Bangalore, home to such world-leading information technology firms such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro and the flagship of India's technology aspirations. 

    "It is true India has the advantage in software and China in hardware. If India and China cooperate in the IT industry, we will be able to lead the world ... and it will signify the coming of the Asian century of the IT industry," Wen said on Sunday. 

    India is also keen to discuss ways to help the energy-hungry countries cooperate in their race for stakes in foreign oil and gas projects. 

    Wen's visit is being welcomed as a chance to forge a new era in relations by some analysts, although some sections of industry remain wary of a flood of cheap Chinese imports, which have captured a significant share of low-end consumer sales in India. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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