| NEW DELHI, July 15
NEW DELHI, July 15 Chinese President Xi Jinping
invited India on Tuesday to attend a summit of the APEC trade
group in November, sending a message of cooperation during the
first meeting between the new leaders of the world's most
But behind the smiles at Xi's 80-minute meeting with Prime
Minister Narendra Modi in Brazil, India's rivalry with its
powerful neighbour bubbled up as the two nations argued over who
would host the headquarters of a proposed BRICS joint
Xi and Modi met soon after their arrival at a summit of the
BRICS group of emerging powers. Xi said the two countries should
join hands in setting global rules and suggested he attend the
November meeting of the 21-nation APEC in Beijing, as well as
take part in Chinese-led regional initiatives.
India has never attended an APEC summit, and has long sought
to become a member to help boost its economy.
The bonhomie was partially overshadowed by news that the
BRICS groups - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -
had not yet decided on where to locate the headquarters of the
development bank they were expected to launch on Tuesday.
The frontrunners to host the bank have been China and India.
"It will be every country's desire, and so will it be
India's, to have it in India, because Delhi or any city in India
has its natural advantages, English-speaking, very skilled
manpower, and if you look at the geographical position of all
the BRICS countries, the five of them, India is very centrally
located," Nirmala Sitharaman, India's trade minister, and part
of Modi's entourage in Brazil, told TV network Times Now.
Leaders of the five countries were expected to a sign a deal
on Tuesday to establish a $100 billion bank and a reserves fund
of the same size to challenge Western dominance over development
DISPUTED HIMALAYAN BORDER
Xi also called for speedy negotiations to settle disputes
over the 4,000-km (2,500-mile) Himalayan border over which India
and China went to war in 1962 and which have flared in recent
years over allegations of cross-border incursions.
"Xi suggested the two sides manage, control and handle
differences with a positive and forward-looking attitude and
find fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solutions to their
border issues at an early date," Xinhua quoted him as saying.
China claims more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) in the
eastern sector of the Himalayas. India says China occupies
38,000 sq km of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the
Modi called for strengthening "mutual trust" and
maintaining peace on the border, the government said in a
His Bharatiya Janata Party has campaigned for a strong
national security posture, saying previous governments have been
weak-kneed in their dealings with both China and Pakistan.
But Modi has sought to build on a booming trade relationship
with China while trying to balance India's security interests.
He sought Chinese investment in Indian infrastructure
projects which he suggested to Xi would help address the trade
imbalance currently in Beijing's favour.
APEC includes Canada, Mexico, Russia and the United States
and accounts for about 40 percent of the world's population, 55
percent of global gross domestic product and 44 percent of world
New Delhi's bid to become an APEC member has been stymied
for two decades because its economy wasn't integrated into the
global system and in later years because of a membership freeze.
The United States, the group's dominant nation, in recent
months has faced calls to promote India's candidature to help
balance the group on grounds that the world's 10th largest
economy in nominal terms cannot be kept out.
Alyssa Ayres, a former U.S. State Department official and
now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said in
a memorandum that Washington should champion India's request to
revitalise India-U.S. economic ties that have soured recently.
(Additional reporting by Frank Jack Daniel and Malini Menon,
and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Ron Popeski)