Comment

A coming together of dreams

In March 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Ashok Kantha, when he accepted the latter’s credentials as India’s new Ambassador to China, that cooperation between two great nations like China and India is contribution to the world and it is our common historical mission to push forward China-India relations.

On May 26, 2014, I had the honour of attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony and witnessing a historical moment. On the same day, Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China sent a warm message of congratulations to Prime Minister Modi. On behalf of the Chinese government and people and in his own name, Premier Li extended sincere congratulations and best wishes to the Indian Prime Minister.

Expanding cooperation

In his message, Premier Li said that >China and India are important neighbours and the top two emerging markets in the world. China-India relations have moved beyond the bilateral scope and taken on global and strategic significance. China has all along regarded India as a natural cooperative partner whose development brings opportunities to China, and has viewed China-India relations as one of its diplomatic priorities. In this new century, the two sides have found a way to actively expand cooperation while properly handling disagreements. China-India relations have matured and entered the track of healthy and rapid growth. Premier Li pointed out that both China and India are now facing the historical mission of deepening reform, growing the economy and improving people’s livelihood. We also share the goal of seeking domestic development and a peaceful external environment. By working together for peaceful, cooperative and common development, China and India will not only bring benefits to their own peoples but also contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asian region and beyond. This year is an important one for China-India relations to build on past achievement and usher in new progress. It is also the Year of China-India Friendly Exchanges. China-India relations face new development opportunities. China stands ready to work with India in order to take the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity to a new level.

One year ago, Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to India in his first outgoing visit after assuming premiership. All of these show that the Chinese government and leadership attach great importance to India as well as to China-India relations, and regard the relationship as an important part of China’s foreign policy for good-neighbourly friendship. This also reflects that it is a set policy for the Chinese government to develop strategic and cooperative partnership with India. The China-India friendly cooperation is an irreversible historical trend which conforms to the common interests of our two countries and to the common aspirations of our two peoples.

The new Indian government

China-India relations will be embarking on a >new starting point upon the formation of the new Indian government. The two sides should seize the opportunity to promote smooth transition of bilateral relations and inject new impetus into the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership.

First, we should maintain high-level exchanges. The Chinese side has invited Indian leaders to participate in the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence ( >Panchsheel) in Beijing next month. A series of high-level visits between the two countries will be carried out in the second half of this year. The two sides are discussing bilateral meetings between the two leaderships on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil and on other multilateral occasions.

Second, we should expand pragmatic cooperation in all fields. The Chinese side is willing to actively participate in India’s development in infrastructure, manufacturing and agricultural fields with focus on promoting cooperation on major projects such as railways and industrial parks. The Chinese side will encourage Chinese companies with adequate capacity and good reputation to expand their >investment in India, and also welcome Indian entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities in the Chinese market.

Third, we should expand people-to-people and >cultural exchanges. This is the Year of China-India Friendly Exchanges. The Chinese side expects to take this opportunity to carry out the mutual visits by 100-youth delegations and actively promote cooperation between China-India sister cities so as to improve mutual understanding and trust between the two peoples. Fourth, we should enhance cooperation in regional and international affairs. The Chinese side would like to maintain close communication and coordination with the Indian side on major regional and international issues and conduct pragmatic cooperation under the frameworks of BRICS, China-Russian-India cooperation, G20 and East Asia Summit, so as to safeguard the common interests of the developing countries and work for a more democratic and rational international political and economic order. Fifth, we should properly handle the divergences between the two countries. The Chinese side is willing to import more products from India for a balanced trade relationship between India and China.

The Chinese side believes that our two governments are able and wise enough to handle issues such as the boundary question in a proper manner, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas, and create conducive conditions for the settlement of the boundary question by pushing forward China-India relations, and try to achieve a phased progress at an early date.

China’s new leadership has advocated the Chinese Dream of realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Indian leaders also proposed the Indian Dream of achieving inclusive development. The Chinese and Indian dreams are interconnected and mutually compatible, representing the shared aspiration of our 2.5 billion people together. We have every reason to believe that as long as China and India join hands to pursue common development, we will realise our beautiful dreams and make new positive contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, and the world at large.

(Wei Wei is Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to India.)

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 8:07:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/A-coming-together-of-dreams/article11640695.ece

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