Agriculture

A day after Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar who is currently on a visit to China to discuss bilateral agricultural issues between the two most populous countries of the world, told China to implement an old MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) Beijing signed with New Delhi 13 years back, the two countries have reached an agreement to 'revitalize' and 'diversify' their cooperation in agricultural and allied sectors including dairy and fisheries.

The agreement has been signed by Pawar and his Chinese counterpart Du Qingling after the two held in-depth discussions on ways to promote bilateral cooperation in the agricultural sector on Monday.

The two ministers assessed the existing state of bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and agreed to "revitalise" various aspects of cooperation in this sector through mutually agreed mechanisms.

They agreed that "diversified" and broad-based cooperation between the two countries in the field of agriculture and allied sectors, including animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries and trade in agricultural products will make an important contribution to the expansion and strengthening of overall India-China trade and economic linkages.

The two sides agreed that the agriculture sector in India and China has several commonalities and both countries share the common objective of ensuring rapid and sustainable development of their respective agricultural and rural economies.

They stressed that the discussions were successful and held in a cordial, positive and friendly atmosphere with an attitude to further bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture aimed at productive and mutually beneficial outcome.

Pawar also familiarized himself with different aspects of agricultural development in China and visited key agricultural research facilities in Beijing, including the Chinese Academy of agricultural sciences.

In addition to a detailed bilateral interaction with Du, Pawar, also President of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), met the minister of the international department of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Wang Jiarui and discussed ways to enhance party-to-party relations. He also called on Chinese vice premier, Hui Liangyu on Tuesday.

Pawar, head of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a regional political party that rules Maharashtra state in alliance with the Congress and part of ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in New Delhi, is known to have ushered a co-operative movement in his parliamentary constituency Baramati (Maharashtra). He has represented the constituency in Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian Parliament for more than half a dozen times.

His six-day visit, concluding next week, to China gains considerable significance, as he is the senior-most Indian leader to visit Beijing prior to Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's first visit to India from April 9-12.

In addition to Beijing, Pawar will go to Nanning and Guangzhou, two major cities in southern China for briefings and visits to specialised facilities such as animal husbandry and horticulture.

The Union ministries of agriculture in India and China signed a MoU in 1992 pledging cooperation to each other. The MoU however, has remained unimplemented till date and been shadowed by other major accords, the two countries reached to resolve their border dispute and enhance trade routes between them.

The trade between India and China has grown manifold in the recent years and the two countries have succeeded in putting the contentious border dispute on hold and moved ahead on increasing trade and commerce.

Agriculture remains to be a major contributor to the economies of these two countries.