As Islamabad becomes a visible negative factor in India-China relations, it's hoped that political differences won't overshadow economic engagement between the two heavyweights, Mohan said.
China and India are strong enough to know that they have no choice to manage their strategic differences as the cost of conflict would be too great to bear, according to FTI's Consonery. With Modi in power, India was now asserting its political and economic clout on the global stage, so Beijing has learnt to engage with a more powerful India than it previously encountered, he explained.
"Clearly, both Xi and Modi are committed nationalists but their relationship will oscillate between cooperative economic elements and competitive strategic elements for the foreseeable future," he said.
On the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit last month, both leaders agreed to "respect and accommodate" each other's concerns to avoid "impedance" on conflicting issues, such as the South China Sea and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Geopolitics aside, the SED will likely see Modi push for greater Chinese investment into India. About 200 Chinese officials and business executives, led by the head of the National Development and Reform Commission Xu Shaoshi, will participate in the SED's five working groups of infrastructure, energy, environment, new and renewable energy, in addition to high technology cooperation.
However, Indian officials reportedly want the infrastructure section to be split into two, allotting one entire group to just the rail sector.
India's railways are a well-known growth industry and more Chinese companies will certainly want exposure to the fast-growing industry. In August, state-run China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation—the mainland's largest high speed train maker—began operations at its $63.4 million joint venture plant in the northern state of Haryana.
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