Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping when the two leaders participate in the sixth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit, scheduled to be held in Fortalezam, Brazil, on July 15-17.
The BRICS summit will be Modi’s first multilateral summit as prime minister. The talks between Modi and Xi will include issues ranging from investment and the trade deficit to trade in bovine meat. The agenda is expected to be “short and meaningful”.
Apparently, the possibility of a meeting between the two was discussed during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, here for the past two days, when he met the prime minister and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
It is expected India will raise the issue of its soaring trade deficit with China, as well as ways to address that. Officials told Business Standard India was likely to press for allowing the entry of its pharmaceutical companies into the Chinese market, largely dominated by traditional medicines.
It is believed India will also push for greater penetration of its information technology (IT) sector in China. Currently, Indian IT companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and NIIT Technologies have operations in that country.
Investment from both sides will account for a large chunk of the agenda of the talks. China is keen to establish large-scale industrial parks across India.
China might raise the issue of bovine meat import from India. Though these imports are high, there is concern such trade will be discontinued. During its election campaign, the Bharatiya Janata Party had been extremely vocal against cow slaughter and had vowed to put an end to beef exports.
Last month, after his landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections, Modi had a telephonic conversation with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Both had vowed to make substantial progress in strategic ties.
Modi had also extended an invitation to Xi to visit India later this year to take part in celebrations marking 60 years of the Panchsheel agreement signed between the two countries.
Also on the cards is a relaxed visa regime between the two countries. Both sides will also collaborate on creating a Bangladesh-China-India-Mynamar economic corridor.
Exports to China increased from $8.32 billion in 2006-07 to $13.52 billion in 2012-13, while imports rose from $17.47 billion to $54.30 billion. As a result, the trade deficit against India swelled from $9.15 billion in FY07 to $40.78 billion in FY13. China accounts for a fifth of India’s overall trade deficit of $190.9 billion, and half if oil is excluded.