By S.Venkat Narayan/The Island
New Delhi, April 29: In a significant move to end the frosty relations between India and China, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to undertake a joint India-China economic project in Afghanistan at their first informal summit in Wuhan, official sources said.
The understanding was reached between the two leaders during the two-day informal summit which concluded today, they said.
As per the understanding, officials of both sides will identify the project in following up discussions and work out modalities.
This will be a first such Sino-Indian joint project in the war-torn country, where China has tacitly backed Pakistan. Afghanistan and the US have been accusing Pakistan of backing the Taliban and its most violent attacks in the country, thus destabilising any attempts to restore peace.
China for the first time held a trilateral meeting with the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan last December last in Beijing to narrow down the differences between the two countries.
China had also announced plans to extend its controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan at the meeting.
Observers say the Modi-Xi decision may cause a flutter in China’s all-weather friend Pakistan, which is vehemently opposed to India’s multi-billion-dollar assistance to Afghanistan.
(The featured image at the top shows Afghan women registering for a micro financing scheme)