Top Chinese leader Zhang Dejiang on Sunday met Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan here and expressed the need for strengthening cooperation between parliaments and provincial legislatures of the two countries.

Stating that he has himself served in local governments for many years, the Chairman of the standing committee of People’s National Congress of China called for increasing exchanges between provincial legislatures of China and India.

He also told the Governor that the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India and the subsequent visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China have added a new dimension to the relations between the two countries, according to a release issued by the Raj Bhavan.

Pointing out that over 50 agreements were signed between China and India during the high-level visits, Dejiang said the results of these agreements would be visible in next three years if the two countries could maintain the momentum.

India and China are among the oldest civilisations and rapidly emerging countries. Close cooperation between the two countries will not only benefit 2.5 billion people of the two countries, but would also benefit the entire region, he said.

Observing that there are historic issues and differences between China and India, Dejiang said that if addressed properly, the issues will not affect the relations between the two countries.

It was raining heavily when Dejiang arrived at Raj Bhavan. "People of China believe that rains bring prosperity.

I wish rains will bring prosperity to Maharashtra," he told the Governor.

He welcomed Rao’s suggestion to enhance cooperation between universities and increase student exchange between Maharashtra and China.

The Governor, who is also Chancellor of 20 universities in the state, told Dejiang that even though the University of Mumbai has 700,000 students, there was not a single Chinese student studying there. Even the Savitribai Phule University of Pune, which has a sizable number of foreign students, had only 10 Chinese students, he said.

Meanwhile, Dejiang along with the Chinese delegation also met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at Sahaydri guest house.

He also held an interactive meeting with Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde.

The delegation then left for New Delhi and Dejiang was seen off at the airport by Bagde.