Essay: '5Cs to Promote China-India Relations'
Keynote Speech by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui at the Opening Ceremony, on 18 June 2018 of China-India Relations Seminar
Ijust came back from Qingdao, China, where President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modiji held the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) on 9 June 2018. Their discussion focused on the implementation of consensus reached during the Wuhan informal Summit, 41 days before.
Prior to Qingdao, the two sides made a lot of effort to prepare for the meeting. We have taken note that Prime Minister Modiji made a speech at Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore which sent a positive message.
In Qingdao, the two leaders agreed to hold the second round of informal summit next year. This is the most significant outcome of the meeting.
The Chinese Defence Minister, Minister for Public Security will visit India and the Special Representatives' Meeting on the Boundary Question will be held in Beijing in 2018.
The two foreign ministers will cochair the first meeting of high-level people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanism.
China will import more sugar, nonBasmati rice and high-quality medicines from India to reduce trade imbalance. A new bilateral trade target has been set for 100 billion USD by 2022. India agreed to facilitate the establishment of Bank of China branch office in Mumbai. The two sides agreed to share hydrological information concerning cross-border rivers and enhance connectivity in the region including the BCIM (Bangladesh–China–India– Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation) cooperation projects.
The two sides decided to move forward 'China-India Plus' cooperation in Afghanistan, starting from joint training programme for Afghan civil servants.
The meeting extended for an additional 15 minutes. What impressed me most was that President Xi showed strong interest in Bollywood movies. He once again mentioned Dangal, and two other movies, Baahubali 2 and
Hindi Medium which are being screened in China.
The Qingdao meeting is essentially the continuation of the Wuhan informal summit. In Wuhan, the Summit created a new model of engagement between the two leaders. It is of great significance, fruitful and a milestone in the history of bilateral relations.
Wuhan Summit enhanced the chemistry and friendship between the two leaders. President Xi told the guests that he had received the foreign leader twice outside Beijing during the five years of is tenure. The first was in Xi'an in 2015. Wuhan was the second one. Modiji was deeply touched.
They spent 9 hours together over 7 events including 4 one-on-one meetings, besides walking and teatasting along the lakeside, boat ride and a museum tour. Modiji recalled his visit as Chief Minister of Gujarat to the Three Gorges Dam near Wuhan. Strategic communications, meetings, heart-to-heart dialogues
Strategic communications, meetings, heart-to-heart dialogues are important. What's equally important is to implement the consensus, transmit leaders’ personal friendship down to the people, and take more concrete actions.
are important. What's equally important is to implement the consensus, transmit leaders’ personal friendship down to the people, and take more concrete actions. The Qingdao meeting has shown the right direction.
Why China-India relations are so important that the two leaders pay such attention to?
From the bilateral perspective, China and India are neighbours that cannot be moved away. We are the most populous and largest developing countries. We have shared historic glory of friendly interactions. We also have pending boundary issues. Our relations are so multifaceted and complicated, that they call for special care and attention.
From the perspective of domestic development, both countries are at the critical stage of economic development, deepening reform, and advancing modernization. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. The Chinese people are pursuing the Chinese dream. In the meantime, India puts forward a vision of 'New India'. We should synergize the development strategies and share governance experiences.
From the global perspective, in recent years, the developing countries represented by China and India have emerged as a group, contributing to the ongoing 'rise of the East' in the transforming world. Against the backdrop of antiglobalization and rising protectionism, China and India as major emerging market economies, are faced with the pressure of established powers. We should coordinate our positions and also explore ways to be with each other.
Now, I want to share with you the fields of priority with 5Cs to promote China-India relations, namely, communication, cooperation, contacts, coordination, and control.
First, Strategic Communication
How to coexist with each other, how to look at respective development and how to judge intentions of China and India, are key issues that urgently call for the strategic guidance from the leaders.
Besides the informal summits, the two leaders agreed to maintain strategic communication in different forms such as phone conversation, correspondence, meetings. Certainly, they will meet again during BRICS Summit in South Africa in July and probably G20 Summit in Argentina in November.
We need to strengthen exchanges between senior officials of the government, military and legislature of our two countries, and give full play to the existing mechanisms to enhance strategic communication and increase mutual understanding.
Second, Economic Cooperation
China is India's largest trading partner. Last year, the bilateral trade volume reached 84.4 billion US dollars. More than 800 Chinese companies are investing and doing business in India, creating over one lakh job opportunities for India.
China does not seek the trade imbalance with India. In March this year, a trade delegation led by Chinese Commerce Minster Zhong Shan purchased goods worth – 2.4 billion US dollars in India. We encourage more Indian companies to participate in the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai this November. But surprisingly so far only four Indian companies have decided to participate in the Expo. We call for the Indian government and the business circles to be more active in participating.
We would also like to negotiate a regional trade arrangement with India to expand trade relations. We may encourage economic cooperation on major projects such as new industrial parks and highspeed railways.
Third, People-to-People Contacts
China and India are closely linked in history. Nowadays, practicing yoga, watching Bollywood movies and tasting Darjeeling tea have become fashionable among the Chinese youth. We should tap the huge potential and it is well-worth doing to strengthen mutual understanding between the two peoples.
We should give full play to the high-level people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanism to enhance exchanges in the fields of movie, sports, tourism, museum and youth.
We will continue to promote religious exchanges and make arrangement for the pilgrims to Kailash Manasarovar.
A 200-member Chinese youth delegation will be here early next month.
Fourth, Coordination on International and Regional Issues
China-India relations have gone beyond bilateral scope. We have broad converging interests and face common challenges in Asia and beyond. We need to enhance cooperation in SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), G20 and join hands to tackle global challenges to forge global economic integration, free trade and multilateralism. We should continue to push forward 'China India Plus' cooperation. Security cooperation is one of the three pillars of SCO. Some Indian friends suggested that China, India and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral cooperation under the SCO.
Fifth, Control and Management of Differences
India is our immediate neighbour. It's quite natural to have differences with neighbours. We need to narrow differences through expanding cooperation. However, it does not mean that differences would be ignored.
The boundary question between our two countries was left history. We need to build on convergence to find a mutual acceptable solution through the Special Representatives' Meeting while adopting confidencebuilding measures to maintain the peace and tranquility along the border.
Ambassador Luo Zhaohui