India, China have an ‘evolving relationship’: Jaitley

New Delhi : Despite growing differences between India and China, both on the strategic as well as on economic front, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said both nations have an ‘evolving relationship’ and expressed hope that the bilateral ties between New Delhi and Beijing improves in the long run.

“China and India have an evolving relationship. Today, both India and China have an issue of border, but apart from that we are neighbours. The economic and trade relationship between both countries have grown immensely,” he said in an exclusive interview to ETV head Jagdish Chandra.

“We are always hoping to have a better bilateral relationship and to always develop the economic ties. It, however, depends on the statesmanship of both the countries,” he added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to India from September 17 to 19, 2014. During the visit, President Xi Jinping met with President Pranab Mukherjee and held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A total of 16 agreements were signed during the visit in various sectors including, commerce and trade, railways, space-cooperation, pharmaceuticals, audiovisual co-production, culture, establishment of industrial parks, sister-city arrangements etc. The two sides also signed an MoU to open an additional route for Kailash MansarovarYatra through Nathu La. The Chinese side agreed to establish two Chinese Industrial Parks in India and expressed their intention to enhance Chinese investment in India.

Prime Minister Modi visited China from May 14 to 16 last year. The visit was rich in symbolism and substance and it opened up a new chapter in India-China relations.

There were 24 agreements signed on the government-to-government side, 26 MoUs on the business-to-business side and two joint statements, including one on climate change.

Trade and economic relationship between India and China has seen rapid progress in the last few years. India-China bilateral trade, which was as low as US$ 2.92 billion in 2000, reached US$ 41.85 billion in 2008, thereby making China the largest trading partner of India in goods.

As per provisional data by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, India-China bilateral trade stood at US$ 70.4 billion by 2015. India’s exports to China touched US$ 8.86 billion whereas China’s exports were US$ 61.54 billion.

However, India still faces a growing trade deficit vis-a-vis China. In 2015, the trade deficit stood at US$ 52.67 billion. Apart from trade, India is also one of the largest markets for project exports from China.

Currently, the projects under execution are estimated at over US$ 63 billion. As per Chinese figures, the cumulative Chinese investments into India till December 2014 stood at US$ 2.763 billion while Indian investments into China were US$ 0.564 billion. (ANI)