China – India cooperation to benefit world: Ambassador
Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-1-5 14:38:19
China and India are reemerging in a mutually supportive manner, and their cooperation will benefit the world, said Ashok Kantha, the Indian ambassador to China.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Kantha, who will complete his tenure and leave China this week, said he has a "sense of deep satisfaction" as relations between the Asian neighbors have gained momentum since he took office in 2014, adding that "2016 will be another year of rich harvest."
According to Kantha, the last two years have been "the most productive phase" in the development of Sino-Indian ties, as shown by frequent high-level exchanges, especially the two "landmark" visits by leaders of the two countries.
In September 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping started his trip to India in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat. In May 2015, Xi welcomed Modi to Xi'an, capital city of Shaanxi Province and Xi's hometown.
In addition to reaching a series of agreements and understandings, the leaders also sent out "very powerful signals of the desire [by] India and China to work together," said Kantha.
China will host the G20 summit in Hangzhou City and the BRICS summit in 2016. These two major events will provide opportunities for engagement between the leaders, he said.
The reemergence of India and China is a defining development of the 21st century, and the two countries have to take into consideration each other's interests, concerns and aspirations, he added.
"My expectations for 2016 are optimistic and this is based on what we have achieved in recent years," he said. "It is based on a clear strategic consensus reached between the top leaders and the fact that India and China working together is of mutual advantage."
"We should be seen as contributors to each other's development. We've made progress, but much more work needs to be done," he said. DESIRE FOR COOPERATION
China is one of India's largest trading partners, with two-way trade in 2015 expected to reach 100 billion US dollars.
"We need to move to a more balanced trade relationship," said Kantha, adding that India is trying to expand its economic engagement and attract investment from Chinese companies.
While China has promoted strategies including Made in China 2025 and Internet Plus, India has launched initiatives such as Made in India, Digital India and Smart Cities. Kantha said these will create new opportunities for the two countries to contribute to each other's development.
During his visit to China in May 2015, Modi met with business leaders and encouraged Chinese enterprises to participate in India's development agenda.
"Indian companies have strengths when it comes to the knowledge-based economy, which can contribute to China's economic development, which emphasizes innovation and R&D," said Kantha, adding there is great potential for cooperation in fields including pharmaceuticals, health, manufacturing, infrastructure and industrial parks.
Aside from economic cooperation, Kantha has been optimistic about upgrading the diplomatic partnership between the two countries.
During his visit to China, Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended a cultural event featuring tai chi and yoga, Kantha recalled.
Kantha said he appreciates Chinese people's interest in Indian culture. After visiting 27 Chinese cities, Kantha declared that "yoga is finding a second home in China."
In 2015, Indian films made major breakthroughs in China with the release of "Peekay," which raked in more than 100 million yuan (15.4 million US) in ticket sales in the country.
Kantha said China and India are co-producing at least three films now. A movie about the Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, who undertook a perilous journey to India around 1,300 years ago, will be released during the upcoming Chinese new year, said the ambassador.
Interaction between Chinese provinces and Indian states and cities has become important in forging a closer partnership between the two countries by encouraging exchanges in trade and investment.
According to Kantha, China and India have 10 sets of sister cities and sister province and state relationships. "And there are more in the pipeline," he added.
" We would like to see many more Chinese tourists in India," added Kantha. BENEFITS FOR THE WORLD
China and India, as neighbors and two of the world's fastest growing economies, approach several key global issues with similar perspectives.
"We have converging interests when it comes to international issues. Therefore, it is not surprising that collaboration is increasing significantly," said Kantha.
Kantha admitted there are problems, such us border disputes. "But we will not let them get in the way of the development of relations."
"Competition between two countries is very natural when it comes to large countries that are neighbors and share some tactical space," he said."But it should not be a rivalry."
"When it comes to international issues, it is not enough for us to exchange notes, but we must actively shape the agenda and outcomes of such discourse," he said.
In 2015, China and India, together with other BRICS partners, worked to launch the New Development Bank, which is headquartered in Shanghai and headed by an Indian president.
India also supported China in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank last year, with India being the second largest shareholder.
The two countries coordinated their positions before and during the international climate change conference held in Paris in December 2015, and participated in the negotiations in a responsible and constructive manner.
Terrorism is another common threat for China and India. During Indian Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh's visit to China in November 2015, China and India agreed on closer security and anti-terror cooperation.
"Any vision of a prosperous Asia or world will not be realized unless we have a prosperous India and China," said Kantha.
The two civilizations have historically played a large role in the development of mankind, and they are once again seeking to realize their potential in addressing international issues, said Kantha.