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PM Manmohan Singh says India greatly values friendship with China

 PM Manmohan Singh says India greatly values friendship with China	Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Nov. 19 : Prime Ministers of India and China met here on Monday, and said the bilateral friendship that currently exists between the two countries is valued and cannot be underestimated in the global context.

Meeting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the ongoing 10th ASEAN-India Summit here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: "I greatly value our friendship."

Praising Premier Wen Jiabao for his leadership, Dr. Singh further said:"The vision outlined by the (Chinese) Congress reflects the wisdom and sagacity of the Chinese leadership."

The Indian Prime Minister also appreciated Premier Wen Jiabao's personal endeavor to make bilateral relations between the two countries stronger, wider and deeper.

Dr. Singh also said Premier Wen Jiabao's visits to India in 2005 and 2010 have given a strong thrust to "our bilateral relationship."

In his opening remarks, Premier Wen Jiabao said:"We have established a good working relationship and friendship between us, and, I think, this is a reflection of good relationship between our two great nations."

"I cherish the friendship which I have forged with you (Dr. Singh) and this may probably our last meeting we have in the remainder of my term of office," the Chinese Premier added.

According to other media reports, Premier Wen Jiabao reportedly told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that China is aware of the need for balancing bilateral trade that currently is heavily in favour of Beijing.

During their 45-minute-long meeting, and their 14th interaction in eight years, Dr. Singh emphasised the need for greater market access and increasing Indian exports to China, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said while briefing Indian journalists after he talks.

Foreign Secretary Mathai revealed that Premier Wen had replied that he was "cognisant of India''s interests" for the need to balance trade, and added that it will be done "gradually".

Mathai also informed that while the code of conduct for moving on the South China Sea did not figure during the bilateral talks, New Delhi is in fvour of such a code in the sea, to "make it an area of cooperation".

Countries of the Asia and Pacific are demanding such a code in the South China Sea, a major trading waterway where China has been trying to establish control, media reports said.

In fiscal 2011-12, Sino-India bilateral trade was at a record USD 73.9 billion, but the trade deficit rose to over USD 27 billion in Beijing''s favour.

The figure in fiscal 2010-11 was USD 61.7 billion.

Prime Minister Singh is visiting Phnom Penh from Nov 18 to 20 to attend the 10th ASEAN-India Summit and the Seventh East Asia Summit. (ANI)