H.E. Ashok K. Kantha,Ambassador of India visited Shanghai and Hangzhou the capital of Zhejiangprovince from 2-3 December 2014. Programme in Shanghai included speech byAmbassador at the Fudan University and the inauguration of Indian Buddhist ArtExhibition at the Shanghai Museum on 2 December 2014. In Hangzhou, Ambassadormet the Mr. Xia Baolong, the Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province and also theHangzhou municipal leadership. In addition the President of Zhejiang Federationof Industry and Commerce Mr. Nan Cunhui, hosted a lunch for Ambassador where heinteracted with some business leaders of Zhejiang province. A formal banquetwas hosted in honor of Ambassador by Ms. Liang Liming, Vice-Governor ofZhejiang Province on the evening of 3 December.
At the FudanUniversity Ambassador met Mr. Lu Fang, Vice President and Provost of theUniversity and exchanged views on further strengthening links between Indianinstitutions and Fudan University. Subsequently he delivered a lecture on ‘India-ChinaRelations: Current Situation and the Future Vision’ at the Institute ofInternational Studies of the Fudan University. The lecture was attended by around70 professors & scholars from Fudan’s Institute of International relationsas well as from Fudan Development Institute. In his remarks Ambassador noted thatparallel re-emergence of India and China was going to be a defining aspect ofgeo-political landscape and that there was a strong case for furtherstrengthening relations between our two countries as developmental partnerswhile respecting each other’s core interests and legitimate aspirations. Hestressed that there were more convergences between our two countries and suggestedseveral areas to focus in this regard, including strengthening economicpartnership, people-to-people contacts, working together on global and regionalissues, working towards fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution ofborder issue, even while maintaining peace and tranquility in our border areas.The speech was followed by a question and answer session that saw someinteresting questions from the audience including suggestions of using socialmedia in China to put forward Indian views on foreign policy as well ascreating a people-to-people connect using the social media.
Ambassador inaugurated an exhibition “Indian Buddhist Art” organized byIndian Museum, Kolkata in collaboration with the Shanghai Museum on December 2,2014. Leaders from Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress, Shanghai MunicipalGovernment as well as from several cities from Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinceattended the inaugural. This exhibition is the largest Exhibition of IndianBuddhist Art till date, which has been organised by an Indian Museum inChina. The exhibition showcases the entire history of the life of GautamBuddha through 91 excellent specimens (sculptures and manuscripts) of IndianBuddhist Art from the collections of the Indian Museum, Kolkata and otherMuseums of India. The Exhibition has been organized as part of the Glimpses of India Festival underthe auspices of India-China Year of Friendly Exchanges 2014 and will remainopen till 2 February 2015 to give a glimpse of the rich and diversecultural heritage of India to the Chinese people.
On 3 December, Ambassador met the Party Secretary of Zhejiang ProvinceMr. Xia Baolong. Mr. Xia has just concluded a very successful visit to India,where he had taken a large business delegation of more than 100 leadingbusinessmen from Zhejiang province. That visit resulted in contracts andinvestments worth US$2.4 billion. Mr. Xia warmly welcomed Ambassador andthanked him for efforts in making his visit very successful. He conveyed that hehad lot of ‘vivid memories’ of his visit. Mr. Xia further added that thecontracts signed during his visit were ‘only a start’ and that he was confidentthat business and economic cooperation between Zhejiang and India will becomeonly stronger in the future. He also suggested that we should try andstrengthen people-to-people and cultural contacts. Ambassador said that heentirely agreed with suggestions of Xia Baolong and that both Embassy and ourConsulate in Shanghai will work with the provincial authorities in this regard.In the past few years economic links between Zhejiang and Indiahave strengthened with several Indian companies now having a presence in theprovince. Companies from Zhejiang are also looking at investments inIndia. Last year India’s bilateral trade with the province stood atUS$8.6 billion (accounting for more than 11% of our overall trade with China). The province is also home to a large number of Indian traders andbusinessmen.
Ambassador also had a meeting with Mr, Xie Shuangcheng, Vice Mayor ofHangzhou earlier in the day on 3 December and exchanged views on deepening tieswith the city including exploring the possibility of holding more culturalevents in the city next year as part of the Visit India initiative that was announcedduring the visit of Chinese President to India in September 2014. Mr. Xiewelcomed Ambassador’s suggestion. In the last few months several culturalactivities have been organized in the city, including an Indian Film Festivalin November 2014.