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India, China Laud Closer Ties


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has wound up a three-day visit to Beijing on an upbeat note, as both sides praised a growing friendship between the two Asian giants. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports from the Chinese capital.

The Indian prime minister had a full schedule Tuesday. The highlight was a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The Chinese president praised Prime Minister Singh for a successful trip. Mr. Hu said although the visit was short, it was highly productive. His message was echoed by foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

"This visit is going to have long-term and significant impact on bilateral relations, which will be very important for future development of bilateral ties," he said.

In a speech to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Prime Minister Singh said India welcomes cooperation with China on civilian nuclear energy. He said the destinies of India and China are linked by geography and history and that he is optimistic about future relations between the world's two fastest-growing economies.

"This optimism is based on my conviction that there is enough space for both India and China to grow and prosper, while strengthening our cooperative engagement," said Mr. Singh.

The Indian leader added there are good reasons the two countries should work together.

"We are at an exciting point in history, when the center of gravity of the world economy is moving towards Asia. Just as the world economy was largely about western nations in the 20th century, it could be largely about Asia in the 21st century," he continued.

Mr. Singh is the first Indian prime minister to visit China in five years. He said the two countries should put past disputes behind them.

One outstanding issue is a boundary dispute that led to war in 1962 and still has not been settled. Prime Minister Singh said he believes a satisfactory solution will be reached, in line with parameters and principles both sides agreed to in 2005.

Meantime, the two countries on Monday signed a lengthy document outlining a shared vision for the 21st century. It calls for greater bilateral cooperation in areas like trade, energy, resources and environmental issues.

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