There is enough space in the world for the rise of India and China, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Monday while asserting that the two neighbours have transcended bilateral scope in ties as they view each other as partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals.
On the global stage, the two countries, that account for about 37 per cent of the world’s population, are at the forefront of the emergence of a “more democratic global order” to resolve global issues in an equitable manner, he said while delivering a speech at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.
“There is enough space in the world for the development of India and China, and the world needs the common development of both countries. As two large developing countries, our common interests far outweigh our differences,” Mr. Ansari said in his speech on ‘Calibrated Futurology: India, China and the World’.
Mr. Ansari said India admires China’s achievements in terms of development and hopes to see the country become a developed country soon.
He noted that it is very rare in history that two large neighbours have become rising powers at the same time.
“Our destinies are linked by geography and history. We welcome China’s peaceful development and regard it as a mutually reinforcing process,” Mr. Ansari said.
He said the relations between the two neighbours have transcended the bilateral scope and acquired regional, global and strategic significance.
“We both view each other as partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals or competitors. It has been customary to focus on bilateral issues although both our nations face similar global challenges today. The inter-dependence for dealing with these issues will only grow,” Mr. Ansari said.
“Our primary interest is to pay attention to the task of development. For it to succeed, both countries need a peaceful periphery and an environment of tranquillity. And thus it has been the objective of both our countries to seek tranquillity and stability in our immediate neighbourhood and extended region. Only then can we bring prosperity and stability to Asia and the world,” he said.
Mr. Ansari noted that the record of Sino-India relations is a mixed one, but improving.
“The border clash of 1962 left a scar on the Indian psyche and led to a brief interregnum in the growth of ties.
Both countries renewed high-level exchanges in the late 1970s.
These paved way for expanding cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, culture and people-to-people exchanges,” he said.
Mr. Ansari is on a five-day visit to China to take part in the 60th anniversary of Panchsheel.
“The resumption in early 1980s of the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar generated goodwill amongst the Indian people,” MR. Ansari said.
Referring to the role the two countries could play in the near future, he said in climate change negotiations, India and China have maintained that burden sharing has to be fair and must take into account historical emissions.
“We must adhere to this principle in future negotiations. As two populous and fast developing nations, food and energy security are of vital concern to both out countries. We need to find ways of cooperating in clean energy technologies and also sharing experience in managing our respective food economy,” he said.
“Terrorism continues to be the greatest threat to our development goals. We need to find ways to jointly tackle this scourge,” he added.
Ansari said the UN Security Council should be expanded as it “no longer reflects reality“.
He said in the years ahead, a trend of multi-polarity is emerging in the global political landscape and India and China should cooperate for mutual benefit in this evolving and developing framework.
“We are also seeing the gravity of world economy shifting towards Asia. Could the 21st century be an Asian Century? For that to happen, India and China will have to play a decisive role and create a world based on good-neighbourliness and mutual prosperity rather than one based on the balance of power calculations and animosity,” Mr. Ansari said.
Ansari opined that the responsibility for taking bilateral relations to new heights is a shared one.
He argued that while the role of governments is important, equally relevant would be the contribution of social scientists in different disciplines in the realm of ideas, perspectives and policy options.
To convey New Delhi’s position, Mr. Ansari quoted from Rabindranath Tagore’s poem :“In front lies the Ocean into that ocean of peace, my friends, let us launch our boats.”
He said as China and India together account for about 37 per cent of the world’s population, there will be a competition for resources.
“These, together, throw up contradictions that need to be resolved in a manner that is peaceful rather than laced with violence, inclusive rather than exclusive, mutually beneficial rather than discriminatory,” he said.
During his visit here, Mr. Ansari took part in the 60th anniversary of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence propounded by the two countries along with Myanmar in 1954, and held talks with the top Chinese leadership.