India on Friday pitched for "intense" bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, political and security issues with China and said the time has come for bilateral programmes to be "ramped up".
"Today, the challenge is how to manage twin phenomena of impacting positively on the international system and maximising mutual benefit through our direct interaction," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here.
He said that is in essence what is in the minds of the leaders of the two nations when they speak of establishing a strategic and cooperative partnership, one that is global in nature.
"This requires broadening the interaction between our societies, encouraging more intense cooperation while addressing such differences as we may have.
"This expresses itself in many facets, whether it is trade and investment, culture or tourism, or on political and security issues. To make it happen, our leaders need to display vision and commitment, our systems need more engagement and our people need stronger understanding," Khurshid said at a reception hosted by the Indian Embassy.
Khurshid, who was here on a two-day visit, said he had a "very productive" meetings with China's new Premier Li Keqiang, his counterpart Wang Yi and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.
"My discussions with Chinese leaders are focused on ensuring that we have the right common strategy in that regard.
"The responsibility of our officials is to translate that into policies and actions. Where I believe we must give more attention is to strengthen people-to-people contacts and foster deeper empathy between our societies at the broadest level," Khurshid said.
He said initiatives underway leave him with a strong sense of confidence that both countries are entering a very different era.
"As one long associated with education, I am impressed that we have embarked on a program to teach Chinese as a foreign language in our schools.
"The rapid growth of university-level students is another good sign and we have already established seven India Chairs in Chinese universities.
"Our bilateral exchange programs have been doing well but perhaps the time has now come to ramp them up," he said.