National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and China's Ambassador Zhang Yan said on Monday that the two countries shared a robust relationship and demonstrated maturity in handling contentious issues.

Delivering a lecture, Mr. Menon was critical of experts in both India and China who said that a confrontation between the two countries was inevitable, and noted that their political leaderships had demonstrated the maturity needed to resolve contentious issues over the last three decades.

Common challenges

He instead focussed on shared challenges — key among them, he said, the fact that both countries had been until now growing in a relatively “benign environment.”

The deepening global economic crisis — which had strengthened protectionist forces in western markets — and the shared impact of the political crisis in West Asia and North Africa on the energy security of India and China made it imperative for both countries to work together, Mr. Menon said.

Trade relationship

The Chinese Ambassador, in his speech, focussed on the dramatic growth in bilateral trade relationship, which was worth over $70 billion last year. He acknowledged Indian concerns about the mounting trade deficit, and said China would make a sustained effort to “enhance the import of Indian products for which there is a market.”

“We are keenly aware that cooperation between the two countries benefits both.”

“When we face problems, we are more than ready to engage in dialogue to resolve the situation,” he said, adding that “the world is large enough for both India and China to prosper.”

He called on policy-makers to work on improving people-to-people contact and deepening the economic relationship.

“Not every country in the world is happy to see India and China growing closer together,” Mr. Zhang said.

More In: National | News