Dr Rahul Misra analyses the finer points of Chinese Prime Minister’s visit to India
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said the festivals of China in India have played a crucial role in increasing awareness about both countries and their cultures. Addressing the closing ceremony of the Festival of China in India in Delhi, Dr. Singh said: “The Festivals of China in India and of India in China have played a crucial role in increasing awareness and consciousness about each other’s countries and cultures.”
“We have been touched by the response of the people of China to the Festival of India in China. The people of India have on their part watched with admiration the Shanghai Expo and the spectacular conduct of the Asian Games in China,” he added. The closing ceremony of the Festival of China in India also associated the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China. rediscovered each other and understood each other’s aspirations. The development of sound relations with China has since then been a constant feature of India’s foreign policy.
“As the economic weight of the world shifts towards Asia, the steady development of India and China has opened new opportunities for the global economy. Our shared interest in creating a more equitable world order has transformed our relations beyond its bilateral dimension to a strategic and global partnership,” said Dr. Singh. “There is enough space in the world for both India and China to grow and fulfil the development aspirations of their respective people,” he added. The Prime Minister said the celebrations of the 60th anniversary would also open hearts and minds to usher in the next decades of India-China friendship and cooperation.
“We must significantly enhance our understanding of each other through greater exchanges in all fields, whether cultural, tourism, sports, students or scholars. We must close the information gap between us and learn about each other’s achievements directly rather than through third sources,” said Dr. Singh.
He maintained that the India-China co-operation would be the keystone of the Asian century.Dr. Singh also applauded the role played by Premier Wen Jiabao in the advancement of the Strategic and Cooperative Partnership and said this has laid the ground for the future growth of India-China relations.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in India with an uncharacteristically large delegation of 400 businessmen. While trade will top the bilateral talks, issue of stapled visas for Kashmiri’s and Pakistan were deliberately ignored to maintain harmony and warmth in relationship. Jaibao’s visit to India came at a critical time. Over the last one year, the two countries have seen strains grow over Chinese projects in POK and the stapled visas that China has been issuing to travelers from Kashmir, indicating that it accepts Kashmir as a disputed region.
Admitting that China’s relationship with India is fragile, China’s envoy to India, Zhang Yan, recently said the relationship can be easily damaged. He, however, stressed upon the need to create “an environment of mutual trust” and added that the two countries can work together. “China will pose no threat to any country and pursue peaceful path of development. The dragon and elephant can work and prosper together,” he said. Yan asked for the Indian government to therefore step in and prevent a war of words in public discourse.
In response, India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said India and China share an evolving relationship. Ms Rao gently reminded the ambassador that China is being exposed to “India’s vibrant democracy where there are many points of view.”
India and China are home for more than a third of the world’s population, share a 2,500-mile border and are expected to drive global economic growth for years to come. But ties between the two have been dampened by mistrust and even open hostility. The two countries have tussled over land and water rights, and more quietly over questions of intellectual property and employment visas.
While the irritants will be discussed threadbare, Indian officials say the relationship has many more dimensions that need to be explored. The two countries are celebrating 60 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties, and while much has changed in those years, there is still a large degree of mistrust that has to be bridged.
-BY NEWS BUREAU