Turn the Old Page to a New Chapter for a Promising Future of Sino-India Relations
2017-09-23 00:43

On September 22, 2017, Indian Newspaper The Hindu published the article " Turn the Old Page to a New Chapter for a Promising Future of Sino-India Relations " of H.E. Ambassador Luo Zhaohui. The full text is as follows:

Xiamen, a beautiful costal city, is a blessed place for China-India engagement in the history. Quanzhou, a city not far from Xiamen, is home to the remains of the only Hindu temple within China. The ancient "Maritime Silk Road" also starts from Quanzhou.

In September this year, Xiamen not only hosted the BRICS Summit, with China and India as two of its important members, but also witnessed one specially important meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

The meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 5th is the first after the Dong Lang stand-off, and has attracted the attention of various parties.

As Chinese Ambassador to India, I had the privilege to participate in the meeting and I deeply felt that it sent a critical message of RECONCILIATION and COOPERATION to the world in a timely manner.

The outcomes are beyond expectation. Both leaders agree to look forward and start a new chapter. An important consensus has been reached to enhance mutual trust, focus on cooperation and manage differences. Besides, both leaders agree to conduct closer high-level exchanges, revitalize a series of dialogues and mechanisms as well as promote youth and educational cooperation. These concerns provide strong guidance to the development of our bilateral relations.

President Xi emphasizes that both sides need to adhere to the basic judgment that we should be each other's development opportunities rather than a threat to each other. The dragon and the elephant should dance together rather than rival with each other. Prime Minister Modi shares the same idea and believes that the political effects of "making one plus one eleven" can be achieved in China-India relations.

The atmosphere is candid and friendly. The meeting was originally scheduled for half an hour but lasted for one hour and twenty-five minutes. This shows that both sides are willing to devote enough time to conducting comprehensive and in-depth exchange of views, resulting to the late departure of Prime Minister Modi's special plane. President Xi once again commended the success of Dangal's box office in China, and said that it has increased the affinity of the Chinese to the people of India. Prime Minister Modi also highly praised the great success of Where Has the Time Gone, a film named after a speech by President Xi, which was co-produced by artists from the five BRICS member states.

Prime Minister Modi thanked President Xi for his warm hospitality, offered congratulations to the success of the BRICS Summit and best wishes for the success of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Earlier at the BRICS Summit, President Xi spoke of his experience as Deputy Mayor of Xiamen thirty-two years ago and particularly mentioned that Prime Minister Modi and himself both are leaders of major countries with working experiences at local governments.

As a Chinese saying goes, "Distinguished guests bring wind and rain", for rain and wind are auspicious omens. When Prime Minister Modi arrived in Xiamen on the evening of September 3rd, heavy rain fell, which has echoed the ancient proverb. It indicates a successful meeting between our leaders and a new chapter in China-India relations.

I have assumed my new responsibility in India for exactly one year. Over the past year, I have witnessed ups and downs of China-India relations. Now I am in a better position to understand the common aspirations of our two countries for cooperation and development, as well as the huge potential of China-India relations. These understandings are based on the following aspects:

First, economic and trade cooperation is gaining momentum. Last year, the trade volume between China and India has exceeded 70 billion USD. China has become the largest trading partner of India for many years. More than 500 Chinese companies have invested and started business in India with a total investment of over 5 billion USD. Many Indian enterprises of IT, pharmacy and consultancy have entered into Chinese market. For instance, there are more than one hundred Indian software engineers living in Sino-India Software Industry Park in Linyi city, Shandong Province. They have their own communities, restaurants and temples.

Second, people-to-people exchanges are thriving. Mutual visits between our two countries have exceeded one million. Practicing yoga, drinking Darjeeling black tea and watching Bollywood movies have become fashionable among Chinese youth. Yunan Minzu University has established the India-China Yoga College, the first ever yoga college that awards undergraduate degree outside India. We are also working to hold the Annual Indian Tourism Conference in Yunnan Province.

Third, local exchanges are booming. China and India have established 14 pairs of sister cities and provinces. Prime Minister Modi made frequent visits to Guangdong Province when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. I also visited many Indian states and was encouraged by their enthusiasm for cooperation with China. I coordinated the attendance of Assam representatives at the Hangzhou International Tea Expo, and helped Kerala government to introduce rubber dam from China.

Forth, our two countries have maintained close high-level communications. Hometown diplomacy initiated by President Xi and Prime Minister Modi has become a much-told story. Both leaders have met more than a dozen times on bilateral and multilateral occasions. They exchange birthday blessings every year and have established good personal friendship and working relationship.

Now, China's economy is stable and our reform has entered a crucial stage. India is also accelerating its reform. "Make in India", "Digital India", "Startup India" and other initiatives have yielded outcomes. Significant measures like GST Act have been adopted and implemented. Faced with similar development objectives and common challenges such as "anti-globalization" and trade protectionism, China and India should join hands and work together. This has taken on greater significance and borne wider global relevance.

I believe that China and India should work towards the same direction and jointly implement the Xiamen consensus reached by our leaders. We should work towards a sound and healthy bilateral relationship by focusing on cooperation, narrowing and resolving differences. Just like Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, both sides should make sure that China-India relations not derail, confront or go out of control, and make Himalayan region a new highland for Asia's development.

Both sides should set long-term goals for the development of our bilateral relations. We can consider negotiating Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and India, restarting the negotiations of China-India FTA, striving for early harvests in boundary issues, and actively exploring the strategic synergy between China's Belt and Road Initiative and India's "Act East Policy".

Both sides should appropriately manage differences, get under control the problems left over by history such as issues related to boundary and Dalai, while finding solutions to new problems.

"It is time to set sail when the tide rises". I firmly believe that China-India relations "are landscape beyond compare". I have faith in it, and I have expectation for it.

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