New Delhi (Sputnik): Setting aside its historic rivalry with India in Africa, China has outlined the benefits of India-China collaboration in development efforts in that part of the globe. Describing China and India as "like-minded partners," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang advocated "deepening cooperation in various fields with African countries to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results."
During an informal summit in Wuhan earlier this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed on exploring the possibility of cooperation in third countries.
"We hope that the two sides will follow through on the consensus between the two leaders to vigorously explore 'China-India Plus one' or 'China-India Plus X' cooperation to achieve mutual benefits and win-win outcomes between China and India and other countries, and jointly make contributions to promoting regional and world peace, stability, development and prosperity," Geng Shuang, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman said, answering a question on Tuesday on the simultaneous visits of the Indian prime minister and the Chinese president to Rwanda.
After the Wuhan summit in April, it was widely assumed that Beijing's interest lied in garnering India's cooperation in projects of the Belt and Road initiative in the Asian region given India's reservations against the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Beijing has since openly expressed that India and China should coordinate their development and connectivity projects to help neighboring countries in order to ensure Asia's rise — a pitch India has yet to consider. However, by proposing collaboration in African projects, Beijing has surprised Indian policymakers. India has so far engaged with the US, Japan and the IBSA for development projects in Africa.
On Sunday, China and India signed 23 separate agreements with Rwanda. While China signed 15 agreements including a $126 million loan plan for building two roads in the East African country as part of the Belt and Road initiative, India signed eight agreements and pledged $200 million in loans for irrigation and industrial projects.