Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Monday said the relationship between India and China was much better than what some people thought. Barring a few hiccups owing to the long border the two countries shared, China was India's biggest trade partner.

He was speaking at an interactive session organised by the College for Leadership and Human Resource Development and the Social Action Group for Empowerment.

On the India-Pakistan relationship, he said India had extended a hand of friendship despite negative signals from that country.

He stressed the need for good relations with south Asian neighbours as India's strength rested on that. India always faced the consequences of the problems that arose in south Asian countries, he said.

Mr. Tharoor said he had seven lakh followers on the social networking site Twitter, which had emerged as a better broadcast medium than what his Ministry was now using.

Many politicians across the globe had begun emulating him. The Foreign Minister of Bahrain and the Norwegian Prime Minister were among them. Twitter could serve as a means of accountability. He was getting six to seven replies daily to his tweets, he said.

He cited the example of how his Ministry used to send about 4,000 SMS messages to people asking them to go through statements put out on its website.

But a few words on Twitter could reach a larger number of people. “It is a better platform,” he said.

More In: Mangaluru