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Wen Interested In Promoting Bilateral Relations

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The first India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) being held in Beijing has achieved positive results, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said.

"During the meeting, we discussed our economic situations, macroeconomic policies, and policies and cooperation in areas such as investment, infrastructure construction, high technology, energy conservation and environmental protection," he said while meeting the Indian delegation in Beijing yesterday after day-long talks.

"The meeting achieved positive results," state-run news agency Xinhua quoted him as saying.

Wen said he hoped the two countries will continue to make efforts to give the dialogue a greater role in promoting bilateral relations and cooperation.

The strategic dialogue mechanism was established according to a consensus reached by Wen and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh during Wen's visit to India last year.

"The goal of the dialogue is to further strengthen our mutual trust under the current situation and to expand our strategic partnership of cooperation," Wen said.

China and India, which are good neighbours and two of the world's largest developing countries, face many common opportunities and challenges.

Maintaining the sound and stable development of bilateral relations is of great importance to the two countries, the region and the world as a whole, he said.

The two countries should enhance communication and coordination at all levels and in all areas, expand cooperation, take each other's concerns into consideration and steadily pursue a means of reciprocity and common development, Wen said.

The Indian delegation was led by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, while the Chinese side was headed by Zhang Ping, the Director of China's National Development and Reform Commission.

Ahluwalia said during the hour-long meeting, Wen proposed that the SED scope should be expanded to include dialogue on collaboration in international fora like the WTO and G-20, besides climate change and the financial sector.

The Chinese Premier also spoke of India's capabilities in IT and pharmaceuticals and talked about creating an investor-friendly environment.

Indian officials went to Tianjin Tuesday to visit a desalinisation plant, while railway officials from both sides continued their talks for the second day today to understand each other's systems more.

The highlight of the talks was India's push for collaboration in the field of railways, specially China's high speed trains, which hit the headlines recently.

Vinay Mittal, the Chairman of the Railway Board, who attended special meetings along with two of his colleagues from the board, Member (Electrical) Kul Bhushan and Adviser (Infrastructure) R

K Jain, said contrary to the view in India that high-speed tracks require a lot of land, they needed far less land than perceived.

He told the Indian media in Beijing last night that high-speed trains were feasible and necessary for India, especially for freight corridors, and the discussions centred on China's massive expansion in this area.

Ahluwalia said if India is looking at a GDP growth rate of 5 per cent, the present rail infrastructure is fine, but if it wants to grow by 9 per cent, it needs the high-speed rail networks.

Besides railways, two separate working groups held talks on water and energy issues.