Upon invitation by Premier Li Keqiang of China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India paid an official visit to China from October 22 to 24. It is unprecedented for the two heads of government to exchange visits within the same year, which demonstrates further enhancement of mutual trust between the two countries and further improvement of bilateral relations.
China and India are linked by mountains, rivers and a long history of close relationships. These relations have now culminated in one of the most important bilateral relations across the world in the 21st century.
Against the backdrop of the evolving international situation, the relations of friendship, cooperation and development between China and India are in tune with the strategic relations of both countries. I would like to depict our strategic partner relations as follows:
Firstly, China and India have become an interest community. Recently, the Chinese government convened the Forum on Periphery Diplomacy, during which President Xi Jinping stressed that the concept of interest community should take root in China’s relations with the neighbouring countries. This very concept can also best describe the bilateral relations between China and India. From China’s perspective, it is coherent with its foreign relations to invigorate its relations with its neighbouring countries, in an effort to broaden the connotation and denotation of its overall bilateral relations. From India’s perspective, it is one of the priorities of its foreign policy to further develop its relations with China to realise growth, development and prosperity within a stable external environment.
It is in this context that, during the visit to China by Prime Minister Singh, our two countries issued a joint statement which emphasises further joint efforts in coordination and cooperation in the multilateral institutions, that is, the Trilateral Dialogue Mechanism of China, India and Russia, the BRICS, and the G20, in order to jointly cope with global issues such as the climate change, international counter terrorism, food and energy security, and to promote the construction of a global political and economic order that is fair and square.
Secondly, China and India have become strategic partners for regional cooperation. During the stay in Delhi by Premiere Li Keqiang last May, China and India put forward, for the first time, the initiative to build up the economic corridor of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar, in order to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the two-way trade, investment, infrastructure, and industrial clusters, and search for ways and means to establish regional trade arrangements, which would provide steam for the connection of the two great markets, the mutual complementarity and a win-win outcome.
During the recent visit to China by Prime Minister Singh, the two sides held new consultations on the potentials and prospects of the economic corridor. China and India have agreed to carry out similar consultations with Bangladesh and Myanmar, and hold joint working group meetings, in order to formulate the guidelines for this economic corridor, which would be complementary to the Indian strategy of expediting nationwide connectivity, and providing an infrastructure to boost harmonious economic development.
Thirdly, China and India have chartered a new chapter in security cooperation. It is the common aspiration of the two countries to carry out security cooperation to contribute to bilateral relations and build up momentum for the eventual resolution of the existing issues and legacies between our two countries. Since this year, our two governments have made headway in some sensitive issues in terms of national security. India and China have successfully carried out strategic dialogues in economic cooperation, maritime security, counter-terrorism, national defense and cross-boundary water resource management.
The two governments have agreed to carry out joint exercises on counter-terrorism, which would help boost mutual understanding. Furthermore, the two sides have signed an MOU on cross-boundary river affairs cooperation. All the above have jointly pointed to the fact that China and India have been discarding the Cold War mentality, engaging each other actively, and confronting some “real security issues” that are strategically sensitive, but would substantially promote strategic trust.
Fourthly, China and India have been producing “positive energies”. Our bilateral relations are, in essence, the field to produce the positive energies with a yet greater potential to further tap into.
Our two governments agreed in May this year to step up cooperation in the construction of industrial parks to provide the ideal platform for entrepreneurs from both countries to realise cluster development, and for them to further explore each other’s markets and promote two-way investment to effectively address the thorny issue of trade imbalance between India and China.
The two countries have just signed the Execution Guideline 2013-2015, which covers areas for cooperation, that is, culture, art, cultural legacies, youth, education, sports, public press, mass media, and sister city relations. The two countries have earmarked 2014 as the “Year of Friendly Exchanges”. Last but not least, the two sides have also agreed to consult with Myanmar to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the launching of the Fiver Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
President Xi Jinping recently said that the world has enough space for both China and India to realize common development, and that the whole world was expecting the two countries to do so. I would also like to add that, during the post era of international financial crisis, the global political and economic situation has been undergoing a new phase of evolvement, during which China and India should seize the historical opportunity, in order to engage each other and coexist with each other in harmony. As people say, when the “China Dragon” and the “Indian Elephant” tango, they will certainly create a beautiful scenario of prosperity, which will not only generate benefits and well-being for the 2.5 billion people of the two countries, but also contribute equally to global peace and development.
The author is the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai, and is an office bearer of China Institute of International Studies, one of the most important think tanks in China
The full text of the write-up by Dr. Liu Youfa can be found here http://dnai.in/bNtz