Remarks by Hon'ble External Affairs Minister Shri S. M. Krishna at the Inauguration Function of the New Embassy Building Complex in Beijing
Excellency Cheng Guoping, Vice Foreign Minister
Mr. Luo Zhaohui, Director General of Asia Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am very pleased to be in Beijing this evening to inaugurate the new Indian Embassy building complex. Let me congratulate the Ambassador and his staff on the completion of a project that symbolizes a new page in our bilateral relationship with China.
I would also like to extend my appreciation to Mr. Raj Rewal, the Architect who has designed this impressive complex. I am confident that its many facilities would enable the Embassy to be even more productive and render better services.
A modern and expansive Chancery clearly reflects our expectations of ties with China. As a neighbour of China, we have age-old ties, particularly in the field of trade and culture. The maritime routes of the East, the Silk Road or the Tea & Horse Road are some of the more well known examples. Buddhism is a strong cultural bond between us. History is replete with examples of how we have not only influenced each other, but assisted each other's development.
The colonial era distanced our people but could not prevent enormous sympathy for the national aspirations of the other. India's independence and the founding of the People's Republic of China enabled us to forge common approaches to the big questions of the day.
The resumption of active cooperation that followed the period affected by theborder dispute has given us an opportunity to once again demonstrate that India and China can not only work together for mutual benefit but for the betterment of the world.
As the only two nations with a population of more than a billion each, the foremost priority for both of us is to raise the quality of life of our people. A stronger India-China economic relationship can make a direct contribution to that goal. Each of us has capabilities from which the other can greatly benefit. Indeed, as neighbours, the stability and predictability that we provide to the other is itself of great value. The rise of India and China can not only be a parallel process but, with vision and commitment, actually are reinforcing one.
To realize its full potential, the relationship requires diligent tending as well as imaginative initiatives. Our bilateral interface must expand to more sectors, with constant interaction among policymakers and practitioners alike. Our civil societies too must get to know each other better, overcoming language barriers. The larger enabling environment that facilitates more people-to-people contacts also needs constant improvement. We have accomplished much in the last decade, which alone accounts for about half of our total bilateral agreements. But much still remains to be done.
At this stage of growth, our targets should be ambitious. We have certainly boosted our cooperation and contacts through the 60th anniversary celebrations of our diplomatic relations, Festivals of India and of China,and last year, of the Year of Exchange. Let us carry that forward into 2012 that my counterpart, Minister Yang Jiechi and I agreed today to mark as the "Year of India-China Friendship and Cooperation."
India-China relations go well beyond their bilateral aspect. The larger region, indeed the whole world, observes its progress closely. With the future of so many in our hands,there is a heavy responsibility on us. That is all the more so as our choices and policies affect the prospects of developing nations as a whole. An important aspect of our growing cooperation is how closely India and China work together on global issues such as climate change, food security and a more equitable world order. This has been apparent in the last year in the UN Security Council as well.
It is inevitable that our two countries will not always be able to agree on all issues. There are differences inherited from history that still remain to be resolved. But if we are serious about creating a better future, our thinking cannot remain trapped in the past.
We must engage with each other constructively, and where necessary, candidly. Both of us are much better off with a stronger bilateral relationship that captures the vast opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit. I am confident that the Indian Embassy in Beijing, from its new premises, will contribute to the growth of our ties in that spirit.
Thank you all for joining us today.