PM and Hu Jintao review bilateral ties

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday reviewed bilateral ties including the vexed boundary dispute and decided to continue dialogue to resolve outstanding issues.

At a brief ceremony at the Prime Minister`s official residence, Hu and Singh also declared 2012 as the year of India-China friendship.

"The border issue was discussed and the two leaders agreed that Special Representative process should continue to find an amicable solution to the issue," an official said.

In the hour-long meeting, the two leaders expressed satisfaction that the two countries were on course in achieving the USD 100 billion trade target set for 2015.

Hu also assured Singh to facilitate access for Indian goods to Chinese markets, a move that would lead to reduction of the trade imbalances, officials said. Singh invited Chinese investments in India, particularly in infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

The two leaders also decided to expand consultation to include West Asia, Central Asia and Africa, they said.

They unveiled a host of initiatives to bolster cultural and people-to-people contacts, including setting up of a media forum to promote better public perception of their bilateral relationship.

Singh and Hu noted that the goal of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) was to further strengthen mutual trust and to expand the strategic partnership of cooperation.

The SED was held last year when Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia met Zhang Ping, the Director of China`s National Development and Reform Commission in Beijing.