India, China sign three bilateral pacts

     India and China on Thursday signed three bilateral cooperation pacts, including two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on the sidelines of President Pratibha Devisingh Patil's six-day visit to China. The agreements were signed after talks between Patil and her Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in the Great Hall of The People here. The first agreement that was signed was for cooperation on visa application formalities for airline staff of the two countries. The second, a Memorandum of Understanding, was signed between Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Indian Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, for cooperation in the field of civil services. A third and final Memorandum of Understanding was signed for cooperation in space technology. Earlier, President Patil met with her Chinese counterpart President Hu Jintao in the Great Hall of The People. In his opening remarks, Jintao said: "I extend a warm welcome on behalf of the Chinese Government and people on your visit to China on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries." "I am confident that this visit of yours, will go a long way in strengthening the strategic and bilateral relations and partnership between our two countries." Patil said: “I am very much pleased to visit you in China and I thank you for the hospitality extended to me and my delegation. Excellent arrangements have been made for the visit and I thank you for that.” The two leaders, who were accompanied by their respective delegations, then exchanged views on issues of global, regional and bilateral importance to the two countries. Issues bedevilling the relationship in recent times were discussed, official sources said, adding that a complete briefing of the talks would be given later this evening after the State Banquet held in honour of the Indian President Before her meeting with President Hu Jintao, Patil had meetings with Premier Wen Jiabao and the Chairman of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo. Issues like the issuance of stapled visas to Kashmiris by China and Beijing ’s support for India ’s bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC figured in the discussions. Other bilateral issues of interest to the two countries were also discussed.

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