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Modi says China has 'right' to seek regional influence

Published May 07, 2015 06:24pm

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With Pakistan a long-time ally of Beijing, many observers have said that China is seeking to encircle India with “a string of pearls”. ─ AP/File
With Pakistan a long-time ally of Beijing, many observers have said that China is seeking to encircle India with “a string of pearls”. ─ AP/File

NEW DELHI: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has played down fears over China's growing regional clout ahead of his landmark trip to Beijing, saying the rival Asian powerhouse has a “right” to seek greater influence.

While ties between the nuclear-armed nations have long been strained over a bitter border dispute, China's recent push to forge closer ties with countries in India's backyard has caused some alarm in New Delhi.

But in an interview with Time published Thursday, Modi said nations have a “natural tendency” to want to increase their influence, which is their right ─ so long as they respect human rights and international rules.

“You referred to the increase in Chinese influence in the region and in the world,” he told the magazine in a rare interview.

“I think it is a very natural tendency for the nations to increase their influence in the international space, as they pursue their international relations with different countries.

“I firmly believe that with due regard to international rules and regulations, and with full respect for human values ... each country has the right to increase its presence, its impact and influence internationally for the benefit of the global community.”

Read more: Kerry terms Modi ‘visionary premier’

Modi, who is due to fly to Beijing next Thursday on his first trip since being elected a year ago, has signalled he will pursue a more muscular foreign policy than India's previous left-leaning government.

Since coming to power, Modi has sought to revive India's role as a champion of South Asia, mindful of how China has forged closer ties in recent years with neighbours such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives.

With Pakistan a long-time ally of Beijing, many observers have said that China is seeking to encircle India with “a string of pearls”.

Read more: A friend in need: China, India turn on aid diplomacy in Nepal

Relations between the two countries are dogged by mistrust stemming from a brief, bloody border war in 1962 over the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, areas of which Beijing claims as South Tibet.

Modi warned China to shed its “expansionist mindset” at an election rally last year. China hit back, saying it “never waged a war of aggression to occupy any inch of land of other countries”.

But in the interview, Modi said the two countries have shown “great maturity” in recent decades and were committed to “economic cooperation”.

“It is not a volatile border. Not a single bullet has been fired for over a quarter of a century now. This essentially goes to prove that both countries have learnt from history,” Modi said.

Read more: India, China agree to foster peace on disputed border

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Comments (112) Closed



Blue Saffron May 07, 2015 06:28pm

Finally, India has acknowledged China's dominance that the world has known all along.

nation lover May 07, 2015 06:28pm

chinese knew it not 90's india...!! its modern and well structured india...!! so we need neighbour's with mutual love & affection as like peace loving india...!!

Taimoor Khan May 07, 2015 06:36pm

So all the bravado disappeared so soon? His before election statements and now this are quite enjoyable to read.

Indian May 07, 2015 06:39pm

Economic maturity is very high bw India and China ,both know within 15 years (though India will be 3rd its 6 trillion economy will be much smaller then China or us ) they will be at top of the helm of economic affairs hence only corporation is best way to challenge west

harshit May 07, 2015 06:45pm

i love you Dear my PM.....

Pakistani May 07, 2015 06:48pm

And the unsaid part was.... "We have a RIGHT to stop it". That is if they can.

Masoud May 07, 2015 06:49pm

Modi has realized how power packed China is so its good he prefers to withdraw

Ali (CA) May 07, 2015 06:56pm

Peace is the way forward. A hand of friendship can melt hard iron. Modi statement is positive. Thanks from Pakistan and hoping u extend similar hand to Pakistan.

Pagrri Sambhaal May 07, 2015 06:57pm

Arre....so the rhetoric gone?

Zulfiqar May 07, 2015 07:10pm

Much enjoyed to read such statement. Temperature of Indian PM has gone down.

Pankaj Sharma May 07, 2015 07:12pm

Completely agree with PM Modi.... very mature comment. Every country has right to increase its influence with moral boundaries. Saying this Modi has given clear message to western world that India and China are in healthy competition and west should not think to take advantage out of it at the cost of peace, prosperity and development of this region.

Zulfiqar May 07, 2015 07:12pm

Indian PM was threating China before elections and now see the difference.

unbelievable May 07, 2015 07:13pm

"China hit back, saying it “never waged a war of aggression to occupy any inch of land of other countries”."

I guess he forgot about Tibet?

abdul aziz May 07, 2015 07:15pm

China is not fool enough to loose huge Indian market. they are trying to enter in Indian market by utilising the trade benefit given by India to SARC federation. China has more disliker in their back yard. Trade is more precious in the present world

Safdar May 07, 2015 07:16pm

Modi is one of the biggest opportunists of modern times...

Atam Vetta May 07, 2015 07:18pm

It should be realised that in the Xi-Modi duo, Xi is the leader and Modi is the Guide.

tashu May 07, 2015 07:19pm

Modi is a Wiseman he just want to charm China ahead of its visit for better result all such statements are part of it..

ailly May 07, 2015 07:22pm

deceptive and sheepish statement, shows centuries-old-slave mind set, still existing in highest cadre of Indian parliamentary head; ie: India's PM.

Chinese have a rich history they will not buy this more than a child's brain-storming story who tends to keep his parents and teachers happy.

grapes are sour.

Taimoor Khan May 07, 2015 07:25pm

And now please surrender to them north eastern states as well just like UK did with Hong Kong. China works on one China policy and Pakistan support it fully.

Sunil May 07, 2015 07:25pm

Modi, made several visits to China, when he was chief minister of Gujarat, and Chinese President Xi Peng made visit to his home state,signed investment to an amount of $20 billion dollars, so what is the purpose of this visit as PM.

Waseem May 07, 2015 07:27pm

'Right' to influence??? in simple words to construct a new imperialism and dividing world between two hegemonic countries. Alas, world has learnt nothing, and not changed a bit even after 2 expensive world wars and countless sufferings of cold wars

Sandhu May 07, 2015 07:29pm

So Modi accepted the supperimacy of China.

Usman May 07, 2015 07:30pm

Diplomacy at its best, we should learn.

Zaffar May 07, 2015 07:30pm

India is not a security state. We did not attack any country. Pakistanis are sad because they expecte India and China will start fighting and Modi will take the initiative. Bad luck Pakistan!

Syed Ganga Din May 07, 2015 07:33pm

"Modi says China has 'right' to seek regional influence:"

Did China seek permission from Modi?

sudhakar USA May 07, 2015 07:34pm

Reading the comments here, there appears to be a premature glee on part of Pakistani commentators from their prematurely formed opinions and conclusions. However, there are many takeaways from this "mature"statement from the unsaid part of it. Let us wait and see what this trip brings out and does not.

Adnan May 07, 2015 07:34pm

This is called real diplomacy. ...to give up and then fill up......

Babaji ka Thullu May 07, 2015 07:41pm

India better live in reality than denial like Pakistan. India accept that China has made a great economical progress and their hard work must be respected. This shows how positive India and especially PM Modi thinks.

India has already accepted the competition with China and in next 20 years India and China would be at equal. The two main reasons in favor of India is democracy, independent judiciary and demographic young skilled population against black boxed, tiedly controlled judiciary and old aging population of China.

MG May 07, 2015 07:44pm

Its part of diplomacy

Fatty May 07, 2015 07:47pm

It is the time when Modi has to recognize Pakistan's existence and look forward to develop mutual relations. Culturally India has already dominated Pakistan and now it is very easy for India to slightly move in to this confused society to disseminate. Movies are just doing fine and people here are receiving them well.

pradeep May 07, 2015 07:53pm

many think Modi as some war mongerer...he is not..the only thing that concerns him is the progress and upliftment of people and for that we need china's help, investment and its expertise. So he is right to woo chinese inves

raj May 07, 2015 07:55pm

@Blue Saffron it is misery for China that it's neighbours are not lame,he encircled from every side except it's western border. Russia,Japan,s. Korea and india has encircled him from all sides. It is world's most complex zone. It won't be easy for China to get any breathing space. Don't jump to any conclusion as this statement of modi clearly reflects we want them alive not to suffocate . How to run this world is responsibility of all mature and big economies,so,world knows how to deal with this communist nation.

Ostrich May 07, 2015 07:56pm

The bottom line is the top line here: “......Not a single bullet has been fired for over a quarter of a century now. This essentially goes to prove that both countries have learnt from history,” Modi said.

Ostrich May 07, 2015 07:58pm

@Zulfiqar You guys are really naïve ! Modi is a master politician and he can make many like you dance at his will.

Hamid May 07, 2015 07:58pm

I love my PM and as far as I know him from last 10 years this is the most matured statement even I didn't expected, he is grooming as a statesman! Salute you sir.

Danish May 07, 2015 07:58pm

Good news Long live Gwadar project...

Kashmiri34 May 07, 2015 08:04pm

In todays...Neither country overtakes to neither country... Both are well capable to be a well Global giant...& overthrows the western global rule in the next 3-4 decades...

Sudhanshu Swami May 07, 2015 08:20pm

Excellent, that is answer to unasked question about India's influence over Afghanistan !

ask May 07, 2015 08:28pm

He has timed it well keeping China visit in mind. And by affirming China's "Right" Modi is pre-empting objection to his asserting India's "Right", without even saying so.

Sudhanshu Swami May 07, 2015 08:34pm

Big boys, India and China both want to influence smaller countries. China is bit ahead as Pakistan is dedicated follower of China. While among others like Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar etc Some have more Indian influence, other have more Chinese Influence.

ch May 07, 2015 08:37pm

there is no comparison. china is a global power. india is nothing as compare to china

Maratha May 07, 2015 08:38pm

@Taimoor Khan By giving disputed lang and whole corridor. You are really there best friend. Even Hong kong residents fight against Chinese authority .

hamza khan May 07, 2015 08:42pm

@sudhakar USA

indians would know a few things about premature commentary in advance of formed conclusions. you've essentially mastered it.

Chao May 07, 2015 08:42pm

Alas Modi could say something like this about its dealings with Pakistan. India had inherited all the infrastructure and military hardware and other wealth left by the British, letting Pakistan have nothing which had to start from scratch. It conspired with the British at partition to suppress the Kashmiri people who have been fighting for their independence since 1925. It instigated the East Bengal population to split from Pakistan. India has played the role of a common bully who bends before the powerful but keeps menacing the weak. India knuckled under to the Chinese in 1962, and same thing will happen again if it tangles with China today. The truth is that India can never be trusted by any of its neighbours including China. Perhaps the Chinese already know this.

Sanjoy Sankar Guha May 07, 2015 08:43pm

@Ali (CA) Fully agree with and endorse you. This is civil and enlightened !

SRIDHAR RAGHUNATHA RAO May 07, 2015 08:53pm

Modi's statement " so long as it respects human rights and international rules" implies a wider and deeper meaning although on the face it appears to be accepting.

parth indi May 07, 2015 08:57pm

@raj I totaly accept

Black Sabbath May 07, 2015 09:09pm

@Taimoor Khan : "And now please surrender to them north eastern states as well just like UK did with Hong Kong. China works on one China policy and Pakistan support it fully."

Just because Pakistan has sold itself to China, does not mean others will do the same. Indian & China are equals whereas China & Pakistan are anything but. And therein lies the difference!

rony May 07, 2015 09:12pm

@Sandhu

u still dont understand what modi says that china has right to seek regional similarly even india has same right

china has its south china sea while india has its indian ocean

rony May 07, 2015 09:14pm

@Syed Ganga Din

why should china seek permission similarly even india has right to seek regional influence

Brijesh May 07, 2015 09:16pm

Thats why people like him ..He knows to make right noices at right time. ..well done

rony May 07, 2015 09:16pm

@sudhakar USA

if modi talks about china it also includes india like china even india has right to seek regional influence thats the message modi is sending

rony May 07, 2015 09:17pm

@ask

you got it right

Harmony-1 May 07, 2015 09:17pm

@Black Sabbath - "Pakistan has sold itself to China"??? Countries cannot be "sold". They work for their benefit!!!

rony May 07, 2015 09:18pm

@Danish

lets hope it will get complete

rony May 07, 2015 09:19pm

@Ostrich

good india needs such politians

A shah May 07, 2015 09:20pm

Both India and China are iron brothers. Together they will rule the world.

Alam May 07, 2015 09:20pm

Sometime only he behave like mature leader

A shah May 07, 2015 09:21pm

The truth is china cannot beat INDIA and India cannot beat china. So both join hands and rule the world!

shyam May 07, 2015 09:27pm

To all Pakistani friends. Modi said "Each country has the right to increase its presence, its impact and influence internationally for the benefit of the global community.”

Here important word is "Each Country". It means "India also have the right to increase its presence, its impact and influence internationally".

Even small countries like Maldives and Bhutan also have the same right (If they have resources, power and ambition)

Hindu Man May 07, 2015 09:29pm

Mr.Modi is not hailed as Rock-star PM for no reason. This statement gives two message, clever people can understand this message. One one hand he acknowledges one fact, while asserting India's role in the region.

Ali May 07, 2015 09:31pm

Modi is trying to charm Chinese to get support for permanent UN membership. Not going to happen. Chinese are far smarter than Americans

SR May 07, 2015 09:32pm

Dear Pakistani friends, China and India are big boys of Asia. When they speak, they do as equals unlike Pakistan which is practically a satellite state of China. Indian PM Narendra Modi has been hailed by all important nations particularly big powers. Please remember that. We Indians will gladly share our economic prosperity with Pakistan provided it changes its adversarial policies towards India.

observer May 07, 2015 09:33pm

It also means India too has a RIGHT to increase its influence.

A Troll From Nowhere May 07, 2015 09:37pm

What else can he say to the near future super power of the world!

INDIANPANDIT May 07, 2015 09:37pm

Greetings for my Pakistani brothers from India. China has conquered Tibet which was never part of Chinese land before 1950, China have suppressed the people of Tibet. China should open up its mind and its communal tendency to suppress people by force or by use of force. Freedom is the Key

India support peace and development for entire Asia.

Black Sabbath May 07, 2015 09:40pm

@Harmony-1 : ""Pakistan has sold itself to China"??? Countries cannot be "sold". They work for their benefit!!!"

The "benefit" is nothing but a delusion. A relationship between 2 countries can only be beneficial to both when they have leverage with each other. Pakistan clearly has very less or no leverage with China so a majority of the benefits will be reaped by China while Pakistan will be left holding the bag, like it did with the US & Saudi. We all know, how those relations have worked out, don't we!

sudhakar USA May 07, 2015 10:20pm

@rony : I agree with what you are saying. However, that is NOT the ONLY take away from what he is saying. As others pointed out there are many Like human rights, international rules and regulations. Both of these have been successfully crushed under Tiana men square massacres and on going massacres in Tibet.

Rizwan Khan May 07, 2015 10:21pm

Regional cooperation is key to regional development, the sooner we can learn it, the better off we will be. May God bless the whole world with peace, prosperity, and happiness

Suraj May 07, 2015 10:26pm

@Taimoor Khan taimoooore, Pakistan is subservient to China, so it's no surprise that it supports and will support no matter what. Next it will supports China's banning beards and hijabs on Muslims . In worlds opinion Pakistan does not count.

Oops... May 07, 2015 10:28pm

@Harmony-1 "So who gave Sakshgham valley to China? Was its your property it was a disputed region..it was like a man has sold a car whom he has stolen and now Pakistan is on lease for 42 Billion $."

Aurangzeb May 07, 2015 10:29pm

India can be better than China but biggest obstacle is Kashmir!

jeet May 07, 2015 10:29pm

@Zulfiqar He is statesman not like idiots! I believe you get it better.

Others May 07, 2015 10:31pm

@Sunil Wants to earn more miles.

KM May 07, 2015 10:33pm

@Syed Ganga Din ...and did Dawn asked you to comment here?

CoorsLight May 07, 2015 10:35pm

@Harmony-1 He means "Pakistan have morally (not literally) sold themselves to China."

anil May 07, 2015 10:38pm

@ TAIMOOR KHAN there is an old saying, when the wolf is at the front door and jackal at the back door, deal with the wolf first.

PunjabiSher May 07, 2015 10:43pm

@Safdar.. We really want an Opportunist PM who thinks and works for India.. While his mother, brother and relatives lead common lives... He is a visionary leader... Selfless son of Indian soil...

Harisingh May 07, 2015 10:45pm

Glad Modi acknowledges this openly. India's enemies are China's friends. Similarly China's enemies are India's friends.

China has a right to build its influence in India's backyard and India has a right to do everything in its power to undo it.

Sri Lanka and Myanmar have already peeled off from Chinese influence. Bangladesh and Nepal are next. If Modi plays his cards right Afghanistan would get there too.

Ammy May 07, 2015 10:49pm

It's high time Pakistan realises the truth and accept as its is, that India's influence in South Asia is Natural. This would ease the relationship.there is no harm in accepting the truth.

ailly May 07, 2015 10:50pm

@Syed Ganga Din ... Cringe and grumble !! thats Modi representing India.

ailly May 07, 2015 10:51pm

@Babaji ka Thullu ... in next 20 years down the lane India will hardly be found some where ....

ailly May 07, 2015 10:55pm

@SR ... lolz, at least you admitted India is just a boy, get matured and come out of life where Modi imprints his name on his own suit. may be he does rely fellow indians, as some one may steal it so he put his name on his clothes.... with such mind set you talk about equality ?? do you know what does it means ?? you copied burj al arab replica in India, you copy Pak scripts/songs/theme, you copy latin music, you copy hollywood movies ... and you call it equality ?

ailly May 07, 2015 10:57pm

@Black Sabbath ... lolz you guys in India should learn with equal means... copying something does not makes you equal to others. whats your achievement other than copying and stealing other's ideas, stories, songs, designs, policies etc etc etc ...

Mike May 07, 2015 10:57pm

@SRIDHAR RAGHUNATHA RAO Look who is talking about respect of human rights.... the person under who's watch world witnessed the worst bloodshed of minorities.

Rashid Sultan May 07, 2015 11:22pm

@Taimoor Khan Wishing ill, i.e. schaden fruede, for our near neighbour is not going to benefit us in any way. In fact in their prosperity & good relations lies our prosperity and progress. The more we accept this instead of every attempt to bad mouth them or snigger at some small irrelevant matter the better off we will be. I hope we all learn to live with one another in peace and harmony.

Hamdard May 07, 2015 11:29pm

Once again Modi has proved that he is one of the smartest and shrewdest politicians around. He has played to the gallery whether it is internal or external. He has been to USA, Japan, Australia, Nepal , Sri Lanka with gushing reviews from the local press and people. Every country head wants to be his friend. He has said exact what the other side wants to hear. His language has been friendly and firm at the same time. Yet ...... He has firmly pushed ahead with India's agenda at all times. He has firmly put India at centre stage again.

PShailendra May 07, 2015 11:41pm

@ask : I was about to say the same. Indirectly Mr. PM has implied that India too have ambitions and right to influence other regions. Lets see who wins :)

sana May 07, 2015 11:44pm

Aww and you think china will be pleased with this statement and will agree to all the things you want????

BTW nice try !

DK May 07, 2015 11:55pm

Many immature comments here. This statement does not, in any way, reflect one country is "superior". It merely acknowledges that all countries have a right to influence others based on their soft power and within confines of international law. Modi has said a number of times that nations today compete on trade and technology rather than territorial expansion.

I cannot blame many Pakistani commentators for being paranoid and not understanding this very simple concept. You live in country run by the military and your military has convinced you that its might is all that is keeping you safe from invaders.

Harmony-1 May 08, 2015 12:26am

@Black Sabbath - If you think you know "how those relations have worked out" then you know nothing! We have not been "left holding the bag". US is still trading with us and still selling arms. And relations with Saudis are fine too and we still didn't jump into their war, so I don't know what preconceived ideas you have in mind. What "majority of the benefits will be reaped by China"? You mean like $40billion trade deficit that India has with China? Even then it generates business for both.

ZAK May 08, 2015 12:37am

it will takes us years to understand the statesmanship and stewardship that this Indian PM has. we have none like him and with our current decrepit environment will probably never be able to have a great leader like him. our loss their gain as they march forward.

BEWARE: KING TROLL TROLLS THE EARTH May 08, 2015 12:58am

@ailly

China leads the run for copy right infringement so much so that they have a word for it... Reverse Engineering.

Either way, running a nation on "coping" is still way ahead of run a nation on hand outs and aid...

kumar May 08, 2015 01:16am

"in an interview with Time published Thursday, Modi said nations have a “natural tendency” to want to increase their influence, which is their right ─ so long as they respect human rights and international rules."

That is what was said - not what the headline of this article says.

CYRUS May 08, 2015 01:52am

@Taimoor Khan

Priorities. Priorities. Political realities. Not even Mohandas K. Gandhi could rescue India's poor in the 21rst century.
Americans elected Lydon B. Johnson president with the idea that America would not pursue a war in Vietnam. The war had already been decided by North Vietnam at the Geneva peace talks in 1956. The Western powers and the US State Department gave the entire country to the communists and no one noticed - except the North Vietnamese. They were asked which half of the country they wanted. The choose North Vietnam. That gave them eight years to organize the North and their underground in the South. America did not realize it came late to the party without an invitation.
Political realities again. A lot of presidents actually believe they can make good on their promises.

CYRUS May 08, 2015 01:56am

@sudhakar USA

    Their opinions are not premature at all.  The opinions are as petrified as a four thousand year old oak tree.
CYRUS May 08, 2015 02:08am

@Masoud

  Computer programming aside India has reached the point where Japan was in 1958. 

Indians working in Britain and America are on a more elevated plain. Indian businessmen can only squeeze their craftsmen and unskilled laborers for profit. The "living wage" in India is only for the living and not the dead.

CYRUS May 08, 2015 02:08am

@abdul aziz

    Exactly.
Rizwan Khan May 08, 2015 02:17am

After reading these comments, one can say there are bunch of crazy, ignorant, mentally disturbed people are on the both side of the border. It is not China, India, or Pakistan, instead it is people who harbor hate on the both sides of the border, they are the culprits and enemy of the peace.

raj May 08, 2015 03:03am

He is very smart unlike what most comments say.

VJ May 08, 2015 03:43am

Great...... soft diplomacy.

ZAK May 08, 2015 03:45am

@kumar madrassah doesn't teach English and clarity of thoughts too well. fortunately.

amer May 08, 2015 04:25am

@Black Sabbath Sure just let me tell you very clear cut you can build as many as ports around Gwader this massive investment of China will open doors to prosperity and economic stability in Pakistan,China is not a fool to see it's massive investment go down the drain in a fail state (according to india) like Pakistan no wonder why India got on their heels and is in a hurry to build chabahar ,and finally that chest thumbing Modi came back down to its reality China will dominate

nana May 08, 2015 04:43am

Behind the facade of Marxism, China is ruthlesly capitalist state. India took China out of its dark ages by Indian culture and spirituality, according to Cinese ambassidor to USA in mid 1980s. As India is again in ascendance spiritually and alos materially both India and China can lead the world and stop the sufferings of the humanity becuase of last 1600 years of violence and barbarity. China no longer can hide behind its Great Wall, it needs to join hands with India to spread the bliss, material wellbeing and peace allover the world.

Nasser May 08, 2015 05:23am

Chinese are pragmatic people and like to work with all people and nations, even ones they do not get along with that well. They believe that real economic progress is dependent on thus. Both Pakustan and India should welcome this approach by China.

Mohammed May 08, 2015 05:44am

Pakistan can play a great part in bringing both nations closer together and working with Pakistan to develop the region

raj May 08, 2015 05:51am

@Taimoor Khan Cool Taimoor enjoy reading. Thats called intelligent and diplomatic.

SHIPRA May 08, 2015 06:55am

@Syed Ganga Din What is the meaning of RIGHT?

Ammy May 08, 2015 07:35am

@ZAK, buddy. Are you keeping well these days ?

Shikhar Soni May 08, 2015 10:41am
            @Ali Dear India is going to get a permanent membership in UN. The thing which you need to worry is your economic conditions. China is one part of the conversation while all the other countries of UN are the other part which is in havour of Indian membership in UN. There are many other things due to which great PM Modi is raising his hands towards China. Because he always knew that India and China are the only two countries in all of the Asia to become the super powers and biggest economies.
Shikhar Soni May 08, 2015 10:43am

@ch dear we will see this after two years when Modi government will have made the changes which he has promised before coming in power.

Sanjay Guha May 08, 2015 12:01pm

@Atam Vetta No one is the leader there and no one the guide. Modi js looking to increase Indian penetration into the Chinese market and Xi is hoping to make the most out of India as India will be the world's fastest growing market in the years to come.