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China Begins South Asia Tour, as India Strengthens Ties with Vietnam

China Begins South Asia Tour, as India Strengthens Ties with Vietnam

Arriving in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on September 16th, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, seeking to strengthen ties with the strategically located Indian Ocean nation. During his visit, Xi is expected to initiate the building work on a Beijing-funded $1.4 billion port city for Colombo and launch Sri Lanka’s biggest electricity generator, a Chinese-funded 900MW coal-fired power plant. The 900MW Norochcholai plant, located on the west coast, is a complex of three 300MW plants, two of which were already in operation. Xi is expected to preside over the commissioning of the third plant.

‘Inches to Miles’

n Sept. 17, Xi will be in India. In his plans to broaden the China-India economic relations, Xi is bringing along a delegation of 135 CEOs. With the expectations riding high, an Indian official in the Ministry of External Affairs told New Delhi-based Financial Express that Beijing has decided to scale up investments in India regarded widely as the most safe investment destination.

“China is considering investing in India’s ambitious plan to build high-speed railways, including bullet trains. India has already invited China to modernize railway stations,”

the official said.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Chinese media in an exchange on Sept. 15,

“The arithmetic and chemistry of our relations convince me that together we can script history. When India and China strengthen relations, almost 35% of the world’s people come closer and their lives undergo qualitative change. Arithmetically, when India and China gain, a significant percentage of world’s population gains…But, our relation is beyond plain arithmetic.”

Later, Modi tweeted :

“If I have to describe potential of India-China ties I will say — INCH (India & China) towards MILES (Millennium of Exceptional Synergy)!”

India has also begun to look towards Southeast Asia for investments. India extended a $100 million export credit to Vietnam for defense deals. During the ongoing visit to Vietnam by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, the two countries said in a joint statement that the credit line would open new opportunities for defense cooperation and that details of what Vietnam would buy were being completed.

“The leaders agreed that defense and security cooperation was an important pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries,”

the joint statement issued in Hanoi said. Two sides also agreed to “consolidate” energy cooperation following a 2013 agreement under which PetroVietnam offered India’s ONGC oil and gas blocks for exploration and production.

India and Vietnam have deepened military cooperation over the past decade, and, under new administration, India is pushing ahead with a new strategy to establish itself as an arms exporter, using export credits to get foreign sales. The money may help slow-moving talks to sell Russian-Indian jointly produced Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles to Hanoi.

 

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