Amit Baruah

Early settlement of row represents "shared wish"

  • Strong growth of business has become "new focal point" in bilateral relations
  • He suggests increased cooperation on major international issues

    NEW DELHI: Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday declared that the growth of Beijing-New Delhi relations made it possible to accelerate the process of settling the boundary issue.

    Setting priorities for enhancing their strategic and cooperative partnership, he called on the two sides to increase political trust, enhance business cooperation and enrich bilateral relations, increase cultural and social relations, step up consultations on the boundary issue, and develop multilateral cooperation.

    High-level exchanges

    "We should be visionary and farsighted, follow the trend of history, and view our relations in a strategic perspective. We should continue regular leadership meetings and expand high-level exchanges between the governments, legislatures and political parties to enhance mutual understanding," he said at a function organised by the Indian Council for World Affairs at the Vigyan Bhavan here.

    The strong growth of business relations had become a "new focal point" in bilateral relations, with two-way trade registering an average annual growth rate of 32 per cent between 1995 and 2005.

    "Given the size and potential of our respective economies, there is enormous potential to be tapped. We should work vigorously to increase the varieties of goods traded, and add more value to them."

    The Chinese President said tourist flows and student exchanges had increased rapidly. "We should strengthen cooperation in education and tourism, expand air links, increase media and youth exchanges, and forge closer ties between sister cities."

    Mr. Hu said an early settlement of the boundary issue, left over from the past, represented the "shared wish" of the two peoples, and would serve the fundamental interests of the two countries. "It will also contribute to peace and stability in the region."

    "China is ready to work with India, guided by the five principles of peaceful co-existence and the overall interests of the two countries, to actively seek a fair, just and mutually acceptable solution [to the border question] through friendly consultation on an equal footing. We hope to turn [the] China-India boundary into a bond of good-neighbourliness and mutually beneficial cooperation."

    Suggesting increased coordination on major global issues, Mr. Hu said China and India should also strengthen regional and sub-regional cooperation, and work together to build a harmonious Asia.

    Turning to domestic issues, he saluted the remarkable economic progress made by China, but said the leadership was keenly aware of the country's uneven regional development and a per capita income that ranked "after the 100th place" in the world.

    "We have set the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in China in the first 20 years of the 21st century. We will, guided by a scientific outlook on development that puts people first ... endeavour to build a harmonious society."

    "Our target is to quadruple China's GDP [gross domestic product] of 2000 by 2020 so that it will reach $4 trillion and $3,000 in per capita terms. By then, China will have made greater progress in economic development, democracy, science and technology, and education."

    China's development would promote world peace. "History has shown and will continue to show that China's development is peaceful, open and cooperative in nature, and that China will remain a staunch force for world peace and common development."

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