India, China reaffirm ties following Obama’s New Delhi trip
BEIJING (AP) — China and India reaffirmed their warming ties Monday following President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi that underscored Beijing’s complicated relationship with both countries.
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Beijing and said he expected greater developments in ties between the two Asian giants this year. Swaraj is attending a forum in Beijing among China, India and Russia.
“The positive side of China-India relations has been growing, the momentum of our cooperation has been strengthening,” Xi told Swaraj at the start of their meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. “I have full confidence in the future of China-India relations and I believe that real progress will be achieved in growing this bilateral relationship on this new year.”
Obama’s visit to India last month was seen in China as an attempt to deepen American influence in countries on China’s periphery. He’s the first U.S. president to visit India twice while in office, and was the first to be honored as the chief guest at India’s annual Republic Day parade.
Obama and Modi agreed to extend a 10-year defense pact that the White House said would allow for deeper military-to-military engagement and increase maritime cooperation.
China’s government said it hoped closer U.S.-India relations would be a positive force for the region, but the state-run news agency Xinhua dismissed Obama’s visit as “more symbolic than pragmatic, given the long-standing division between the two giants, which may be as huge as the distance between them.”
Beijing’s own relations with New Delhi received a big boost from Xi’s visit to the country in September, although the sides still differ over their disputed border, unequal trade and China’s attempts to expand its influence into the Indian Ocean.