Chinese Ambassador to India H.E. Sun Weidong publishes article in Chinese media The Paper on the 70th anniversary of China-India relations
2020/04/02

On April 1st, 2020, Chinese Ambassador to India H. E. Mr. Sun Weidong Pubilshed an article entitled "Charting a New Course for Dragon-Elephant Tango" in Chinese media The Paper on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India. The full text of translation of the article is as follows:

On April 1st, 2020, we will embrace the important moment of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India.

As the only two emerging countries with a population of more than 1 billion in the world, China and India shoulder the historical mission of national rejuvenation, play a leading role in the collective rise of developing countries, and inject strong momentum into the profound changes of the world unseen in a century. The two countries have never been as relevant as they are today. At this moment, it is particularly imperative to recall the original aspiration of establishing diplomatic ties 70 years ago and carry forward the spirit of good-neighborly friendship, solidarity and cooperation between our two countries. From this new chapter, we should carry forward the profound friendship between our two peoples spanning thousands of years, deepen exchanges and mutual learning between our two civilizations and add new dimensions to the way for China and India to explore on how to coexist with each other between major emerging and neighboring countries.

China and India are fellow travelers against all odds. Our two countries had fought side by side in the national liberation movement. Independence and national rejuvenation are our common goals and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence represent our shared wisdom in contributing to international relations. Today, we speak for safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, and share common aspiration of building a more just and equitable international order. Just as President Xi Jinping said, if China and India speak in one voice, the whole world will listen.

China and India are pilots in the trends of reform and development. In the 1980s and 1990s, the two countries embarked on the path of economic reform and development one after another. We have been learning from each other and riding high on the tides of global rapid changes and economic development. Today, China and India rank the second and fifth largest economies in the world, accounting for half of the Asian economy and one fifth of the world. Our two countries have emerged as important engines of regional and global economic growth.

China and India are practitioners of mutual learning among civilizations. The two countries have a long history of trade and exchange. China's paper making, silk, porcelain and tea were exported to India, while Indian singing and dancing, astronomy, architecture and spices were introduced to China, which became the historical witness of the mutual exchanges between the two sides. Zhang Qian was sent on a diplomatic mission to the Western Regions. Zheng He sailed to the Western Ocean seven times and visited India six times. Originating in India, Buddhism thrived in China. Eminent monks like Faxian, Xuan Zang, Kumarajiva and Bodhidharma made the expeditions by crossing over mountains and sailing the deep sea. All of them left touching stories. Today, people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and India set off a new wave, with 14 pairs of sister provinces or cities established and mutual personnel visits exceeding one million annually. Tai Ji and Yoga, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, Bollywood films and Chinese Kongfu movies have gained popularity in each others' country. It is a new chapter of mutual respect and harmonious coexistence between the two civilizations.

China and India are partners sailing in the same boat. Facing with outbreaks of COVID-19 pandemic around the world, China and India are standing side by side and helping with each other, which highlights the significance of building a community with a shared future for mankind. At the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit via video link, President Xi Jinping emphasized on that it is imperative for the international community to strengthen confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response, as the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading worldwide. We must comprehensively step up international cooperation and foster greater synergy so that humanity as one could win the battle against such a major infectious disease. The Indian side echoed these remarks positively. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter of condolence to Chinese President Xi Jinping, expressing support for China's anti-epidemic efforts. Our two Foreign Ministers had two phone calls, and China has taken the initiative to share its experience in epidemic prevention and control with India. Chinese companies and social charity organizations provided anti-epidemic donations to India. China and India have worked together to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

In retrospect of seven decades journey, China-India relations have forged ahead despite ups and downs, and traversed an extraordinary path of development:

The first key word is independence in the 1950s. The older generation of the two countries such as Chairman Mao Zedong, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made the historic decision of establishing diplomatic ties. India was the first non-socialist country to have diplomatic relations with China. Premier Zhou Enlai and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru exchanged visits, jointly advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and attended the Bandung Conference together. "Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai" (Indian and Chinese people are brothers) rang through our two countries.

The second one is development in the 1980s and beyond. In 1988, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi embarked on an "ice-breaking visit" to China. During the visit, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping reiterated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as guideline of international relations. The two sides agreed to resolve the boundary question through peaceful and friendly consultations and seek a mutually acceptable solution and meanwhile, the relations in other fields could be actively promoted. Since then, the bilateral relations had developed in all areas, witnessing frequent mutual visits between the two leaders and establishment of the Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity between China and India.

The third one is strategic communication beginning in 2013. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi established good working relations and personal friendship through "hometown diplomacy" in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The two leaders held two informal summits in Wuhan and Chennai in the past two years, creating a new model of exchanges between leaders. The two sides conducted strategic communication on overall, long-term and strategic international and regional issues and agreed to strengthen the Closer Developmental Partnership between China and India.

China-India relations today is hard-won thanks to the hard work and unremitting efforts of generations. Here are some enlightenment and experience that we can draw from it.

First, adhere to strategic guidance given by the leaders. Over the past 70 years, our two leaders have grasped the general direction of China-India relations from a strategic and overall perspective. They have always steered the course whenever we joined hands in the national liberation movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America, or push bilateral relations back on track and jointly ushered in the "Asian century";whenever the two leaders conducted "hometown diplomacy" and informal Summits in recent years and reached a series of strategic consensus. Their roles are irreplaceable.

Second, stay on the general trend of friendly cooperation. China and India have a history of friendly exchanges for more than two thousands years. The friendly cooperation, which has dominated most of the time, is the prevailing theme, through which the two peoples have forged a profound friendship. Our joint efforts in combating COVID-19 epidemic today reminds me of the great sacrifice made by Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis, a member of the Indian medical team to China who saved lives in the battlefield for the cause of Chinese liberation. We will hold an event to commemorate the 110th birth anniversary of Dr. Kotnis later this year. As the tides of history roll forward, the waves of friendship and cooperation are running ahead. More people particularly the young generation are joining the cause of China-India friendship and passing on the noble spirit of Dr. Kotnis.

Third, add impetus to mutually beneficial cooperation. China and India share similar national conditions. Both countries are at the critical stage of economic development, deepening reforms and advancing modernization. Our two economies are highly complimentary and mutually beneficial cooperation injects impetus into the development of China and India. The bilateral trade volume has grown from less than 100 million US dollars in 1950s to nearly 100 billion US dollars today. China has been India's largest trading partner for consecutive years. There's great potential for bilateral cooperation in medicine, information, technology, connectivity, environment protection, poverty reduction and governance experience sharing etc.

Fourth, strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs. China and India are important members of multilateral organizations and mechanisms such as the BRICS, SCO, G20, WTO, China-Russia-India. We shoulder the responsibility and obligation to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, speak up for emerging economies, and forge a more fair, equitable and rational international order to adapt to the rapid changes of the world landscape. China and India share similar positions on non-traditional security issues such as climate change, energy and food security and public health. Both countries also share common interests in advancing maritime dialogue, regional connectivity, and "China-India Plus" cooperation. We are both seizing the development opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution including 5G, big data and artificial intelligence. All these coordination and cooperation empower the bilateral relations to continue to grow.

Fifth, handle the differences properly. There are issues related to boundary and Xizang(Tibet) left by history between the two countries. The evolving international and regional situation has complicated impacts on China-India relations. The two sides have established mechanisms to manage differences and seek a constructive solution through dialogue and consultation. One of mechanisms is the Special Representatives' Meeting on the China-India Boundary Question through which the political parameters and guiding principles for a boundary settlement were agreed upon. For decades, not a single bullet has been fired across China-India border. Our common interests far outweigh our differences. The two sides should expand cooperation and curb negative factors to break the circle of ups and downs in China-Indian relations, and proactively shape bilateral relations.

China and India are important neighbors to each other. To respect each others' development paths and achieve our own development is in itself a contribution to world prosperity and stability. At backdrop of current international situation, China and India shoulder increasingly important responsibilities in maintaining global stability and promoting common development. China-India relations have gone far beyond the bilateral scope and are of global strategic significance. Both sides should adhere to the basic judgment that China and India pose no threat but offer development opportunity to each other. We should regard each other as a positive factor in the global change and take each other as partners for realizing the dream of development. Both China and India stand for an independent foreign policy. We should correctly analyze and view each other's strategic intentions with a positive, open and inclusive attitude. We should reject zero-sum games, not target any third party, and not impede the development of relations with other countries. We should continue to push for a new type of international relations guided by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

The China-India relations stand at a new starting point now and usher in new opportunities. The rise of China and India will have a far-reaching impact on the world. We should seek wisdom from thousands of years of our two civilization to explore a way for major emerging and neighboring countries to get along with each other in the direction of "enhancing mutual trust, focusing on cooperation, managing differences and seeking common development".

Enhancing mutual trust is the foundation. Only through mutual respect, consultation on an equal footing, openness and mutual trust, can the two sides correctly view each other's development intentions, subsequently consolidate and deepen the basic judgement that China and India are partners rather than rivals, representing opportunities rather than threats to each other.

Focusing on cooperation is the approach. The two sides should actively seek convergence of interests, seize all opportunities for cooperation, and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results by making the pie of cooperation even bigger. By doing so, we can continue to accumulate positive energy for the development of bilateral relations.

Managing differences is the assurance. The two sides should always bear in mind the overall picture of bilateral relations, put differences in appropriate places and deal with them properly. The two sides should cut the negative list and not allow differences to interfere with bilateral relations and even become disputes.

Seeking common development is the direction. China hopes itself will develop well and wishes India the same. Seeking common development is conducive to stability and prosperity of the region and the world at large. China and India should join hands with other developing countries in winning the marathon of achieving economic development, people's happiness and national rejuvenation, which is an integral component of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

There are four keys we should hold to figure out how major emerging and neighboring countries like China and India coexist with each other, namely "leading, transmitting, shaping and integrating". To guide the direction of bilateral relations through highlighting the informal summits and reaching consensus. To translate the consensus into tangible cooperation and outcomes through transmission of the leaders' consensus to all levels. To shape bilateral relations and accumulate positive momentum through going beyond the mode of managing differences. To achieve common development through strengthening exchanges and cooperation, promoting convergence of interests.

Both President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned the dictum "the whole world is but a family", which is similar to the Chinese philosophy of "universal harmony in the world". The ancient oriental wisdom is still showing vitality today. I am confident that China and India have the vision and capacity to blaze a path for major emerging neighbors to friendly get along with each other. Let's take a "dragon-elephant tango" on a glorious journey in the next 70 years, and write a new chapter in building a community with a shared future for mankind.

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