Interview of President PranabMukherjee by CCTV
Before his forthcoming visit to China
Interviewer 1: Sir, how do you see current China-India relations andwhat is your agenda for the coming visit to China this time and what do youhope to achieve from this trip?
Hon. President (ShriPranab Mukherjee): First of all, I wouldsay that we have a very comprehensive relationship with People’s Republic ofChina. We consider it an important relationship. Every State visit has its ownsignificance as it provides opportunity to the leaders to share their views,explore possibilities of expanding cooperation between the countries concernedand also to exchange views on regional, global and multilateral issues.
This is my first visit to the great country, China as thePresident of the Republic of India. Many Presidents, including my immediatepredecessor Mrs. Pratibha Patil have visited China in the past.
Therelationship between China and India is comprehensive. It covers all aspects - political,security, economic, educational and cultural. I had the privilege of receiving His Excellency President Xi Jinpingwhen he visited India in 2014. I hosted a banquet for him. He extended an invitation to me. I am glad tohave this opportunity to respond to his invitation. It is an effort to intensifyour relationship.
I amconfident that during this State visit, my interaction with the leaders and dialoguewith various sections of the people will enhance the possibilities ofcooperation. My objective is to discuss all important issues. We desire toconstantly engage in dialogue to find a resolution of all outstanding issueswhich we consider holding us back from fully developing our potential. Keeping that objective in view, I hope myvisit will provide opportunity to expand and deepen our relations in trade,commerce and investments.
We aredoing well but the full potentiality is yet to be achieved. That is why we want to resolve alloutstanding issues in a mutually acceptable manner, keeping in mind theaspirations, concerns, sensitivities of each country.
Interviewer 1: How do you think should the two countries cooperatetogether in counterterrorism as the two major powers in the region, and whatkind of role do you think the SCO should play in this field?
Hon. President: This is a very important question. It is also veryrelevant because terrorism has emerged as the great menace and perhaps, thebiggest challenge to the peace and tranquility of the world. Terrorism has norespect for any boundary. It is not confined to any territorial limit. Itspreads its venom and hatred all over the world. Therefore, to check terrorism,comprehensive efforts are needed by all countries concerned.
Indiahas been victim of terror activities for a very long period of time. We know how menacing terrorism is. India and China are both huge countries,multicultural and multiracial. If we come together in fighting this menace, Iam sure it would have its own impact. India believes that every country should alwayshave a zero tolerance policy towards terrorism. The fight should be all-out,all comprehensive. There cannot be any qualification in fighting this menace. Terrorismin all manifestations, in all aspects, ought to be fought and for that, totalcooperation amongst nations is absolutely necessary.
SCO isnot exactly a new mechanism. India isgoing to be a full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Certain formalities are to be complied withand I feel in this year itself, India will be a full member. And naturally, likemany other forums it will also provide an opportunity to expand our cooperationand help each other in fighting this menace.
Interviewer 1: President ji, You have always been advocatingChina’s participation in India’s Make In India initiative. And you also said that India should learnfrom China’s experience in this area. What kind of measures India will take toboost trade relations between the two countries?
Hon. President: First of all, we must express appreciation because oureconomic cooperation is expanding and trade is expanding. The volume of tradeis increasing every year. I hope in future it would be possible for us to enhanceour economic cooperation. We haveestablished a number of mechanisms such as the Joint Economic Commission. Wehave a mechanism of security dialogue at high level. We have established a mechanismfor mutual consultations. Whenever we get the opportunity, we discuss with eachother.
Indiarequires investment from China in areas like infrastructure, modernization anddevelopment of railways, communication, manufacturing etc. These are fields inwhich investment from China is welcome. OurMake in India, Digital India, Smart Cities programme etc. will open windows forChinese investment. And, we have the mechanisms through which these investmentscould be assured and there would be no risk in investment. Our trade, economic and commercial cooperation,including investments should not be confined to a couple of areas or a coupleof commodities. It should be comprehensive.
In thisconnection, I would also like to suggest that perhaps China may have a flexibleapproach in respect of trade and foreign investments in sectors likepharmaceuticals and agro products where India has developed expertise and has emergedas an important global player and where there is immense requirement in China. Thatwill address expansion of volume of trade between the two countries as well asthe current distortion we have in the trade balance. It will help both the countries to addressthe trade balance, if sizeable investment takes place from China to India. Thatis why, we always welcome investments from China.
Interviewer 1: I think the space for our two countries to cooperateis very huge.
Hon. President: We shall have to always keep in mind that we havecooperated as ancient civilizations. Weare not talking of cooperation only in today’s context. We have built up cooperation throughcenturies.
Interviewer 1: There comes my next question. China and India, as weall know, are the most ancient civilizations around the world. So, how do you think should the two countriescooperate together to their advantage? And in what other aspect do you thinkthe two countries can cooperate?
Hon. President: Exactly. We have cooperated with each other in themost peaceful, problem-free way over the centuries. Travelers have come. We built institutions wherethe two civilizations met. Over theyears, we traded with each other. I amtaking a large number of academicians, University Vice Chancellors, Directorsof NITs etc. with me so that we can build cooperation in the field of educationand culture. We want to liberalize the process of traveling to each other. Ifthere is frequent exchanges and people-to-people contacts are established, thatwill provide the necessary momentum to expand and deepen our relationship.
Therefore,when these two old civilizations come together, if we walk together on theworld platform, the world will notice and the world will appreciate that 2.5billion people of these two oldest civilisational countries have come together.They are working together. That would bea remarkable thing. My objective in this visit therefore, is to haveopportunity to discuss with the leadership of the People’s Republic of Chinaall aspects, share our views, exchange our views on local issues, regionalissues, issues affecting the multilateral system and issues affecting the wholeworld. To my mind, our two civilizationscoming together, working in close cooperation is a major event in contemporaryhistory.
Interviewer 1: Yes, definitely. It is said by our President XiJinping that if both countries come together, work together, no one can stopus.
Hon. President: Exactly, and the whole world will have to notice thatIndia and China have come together.
I would,in this connection, take the opportunity of conveying my best wishes to allyour viewers and through your media, to all brothers and sisters of the greatcountry- People’s Republic of China. Thank you.
Interviewer: Thank you so much. We are looking forward to yourvisit.