I am delighted to come back to the beautiful metropolis of New Delhi and join my Indian colleagues for the 15th meeting of the Special Representatives on the China-India boundary question. Every time I return, I am deeply impressed by the strong economic growth and remarkable progress India has achieved.
In the mid-1950s, China and India, in response to the call of the time, jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, or the Panchsheel. Today, these five principles are still shining with strong vitality. The world is undergoing drastic and profound changes. China and India, both ancient civilisations and major developing countries whose combined population accounts for nearly two-fifths of the world's total, once again responded to the call of our time. Our two countries have seized the historic opportunity of economic globalisation and achieved fast development. We are now the two largest emerging countries in the world and play increasingly important roles in regional and international affairs.
I am happy to note that since the beginning of the new century, the China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity has continued to grow rapidly, and our friendly cooperation has yielded fruitful results. The trade volume between our two countries has grown from $2.9 billion in 2000 to $61.7 billion in 2010, a 20-fold increase in 10 years. We speak with one voice and enjoy increasingly closer coordination and collaboration in multilateral mechanisms and in tackling global challenges. The year 2011 was the ‘Year of China-India Exchanges.' The first bilateral Strategic Economic Dialogue was held, and 500 Indian youths visited China. Once again, these diverse exchanges got our relations off to a good start in the second decade of the 21st century. China-India relations have entered a fast track of growth.
Our Indian friends may have confidence in China's tremendous sentiment of friendship towards India. While working hard to develop itself, China is fully committed to developing long-term friendship and cooperation with India. It is our genuine hope that India will enjoy prosperity and its people, happiness. There does not exist such a thing as China's attempt to “attack India” or “suppress India's development.” China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development. It will develop itself by upholding world peace and contribute to world peace through its development. We will grow on the basis of our own efforts, reform and innovation; at the same time, we will remain open to the outside world and learn from other countries. We will fully embrace economic globalisation and seek mutual benefit and common development with other countries. We will continue to work with the international community to promote the building of a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.
China's conviction to peaceful development is not without foundation. It is rooted in the fine Chinese culture and tradition. Peaceful development is not an act of impulse. It came into being in the course of reform and opening-up and is firmly supported by China's state policy and strategy. It is not a policy of expediency. Peaceful development is a rational, strategic choice made in line with the trends of our time and China's basic condition. Even when China becomes truly developed in the future, it will remain committed to the path of peaceful development.
Back in 1988, Deng Xiaoping told Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that no genuine Asia-Pacific century or Asian century would come without the development of China, India and other developing countries. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also observed that when India and China speak with one voice, the world will listen. These analyses of insight point to the tremendous importance of, and necessity for, China and India developing ourselves well and advancing relations between us. For, this is crucial not only to our two countries but also to Asia and the whole world that we both live in. We need to guide and promote the growth of China-India relations with the concept of peaceful development. We need to view each other's development in a positive light and regard each other as major partners and friends, not rivals. We always need to be each other's good neighbour, good friend and good partner. As a man in his seventies, I truly hope that our children and children's children will forever live in peace, friendship and cooperation.
We are now in the second decade of the 21st century. Looking ahead, China-India relations have huge potential and broad space for cooperation. What we face is a golden period to grow China-India relations. The world has enough space for China and India to achieve common development, as there are so many areas for us to work together. As neighbours and two big countries with a combined population of 2.5 billion, China and India can join hands, seize the historic opportunity, and work together to further advance our friendship and cooperation. Together, we will bring benefits to our two countries, two peoples and the whole mankind.
(Dai Bingguo is State Councillor of the People's Republic of China)