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Leaders of China, India meet, make little progress on big issues

Tibetan students shout from inside an Indian police van after being detained during a protest outside the venue of a speech by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Associated Press

Tibetan students shout from inside an Indian police van after being detained during a protest outside the venue of a speech by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

NEW DELHI — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Thursday in New Delhi, the main event of a three-day summit aimed at building trust and reducing long-standing irritants. But they announced no substantive breakthrough and little progress on border disputes, access to shared water resources or security issues.

Nor was there any apparent progress on India's bid to open Chinese markets to its software, pharmaceuticals and farm products. New Delhi also remains wary of Beijing's regional ambitions and its ties with Pakistan, India's nuclear adversary.

The two rising Asian superpowers made some modest progress on the economic front, pledging to expand trade to $100 billion by 2015 from $60 billion at present and to try to reduce the trade gap. China is India's largest trading partner, but trade flows are heavily weighted in Beijing's favor. The two leaders also agreed to set up a hot line, and both sides spoke about the need for improved ties.

"I hope that my visit will help increase our cooperation in a wide range of fields and raise our friendship and cooperation to an even higher level," Wen told reporters on leaving a welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace.

"A strong partnership between India and China will contribute to long-term peace, stability, prosperity and development in Asia and the world," added Singh.

But any move to turn the regional cooperation rhetoric into reality will quickly run into roadblocks, analysts said, given their differences over Iran's nuclear ambitions, North Korea's long-standing conflict with the international community and continued warfare in Afghanistan.

The two leaders reportedly discussed many of their nations' core differences, including Pakistan, divided Kashmir and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader in northern India who is considered an enemy of China by Beijing. But neither side made any significant concessions.

Leaders of China, India meet, make little progress on big issues 12/16/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:42pm]

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