Keynote Speech by Ambassador H.E. Mr. Luo Zhaohui at the Opening Ceremony of China-India Relations Seminar
2018/06/19

Keynote Speech by Ambassador H.E. Mr. Luo Zhaohui at the Opening Ceremony of China-India Relations Seminar

(18 June 2018, The Imperial)

Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog,

Ambassadors, Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Namaste and very good morning!

I'm delighted to join today's seminar co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy, Institute of Chinese Studies, FICCI, FCCSA and IAFAC. Thank you all for participating and supporting the event.

I just came back from Qingdao where President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modiji held the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit on June 9th. This is their 14th meeting in last four years. Their discussion focused on implementation of consensus reached during Wuhan informal summit 41 days before.

As new full members of SCO, India and Pakistan both made their contribution to the success of the SCO Qingdao Summit. Modiji travelled to China twice within a very short time. We have also taken note that Prime Minister Modiji made a speech at Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore which sent a positive message. We really appreciate that.

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 Defense Minister, Minister for Public Security will visit India respectively and the Special Representatives' Meeting on Boundary Question will be held in Beijing this year.

The two foreign ministers will soon co-chair the first meeting of high-level people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanism this year.

China will import more sugar, non-Basmati rice and 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 hydro-logical information concerning cross-border rivers and enhance connectivity in the region including the BCIM cooperation projects.

The two sides decided to move forward 'China India Plus' cooperation in Afghanistan, starting from joint training program for Afghan civil servants.

During their meeting in Qingdao, President Xi once again talked about Bollywood movie Dangal. He also mentioned two other movies, Baahubali 2 and Hindi Medium which are being screened in China. He is a super fan of the Bollywood movies.

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 and a milestone in the history of bilateral relations.

Wuhan Summit enhanced the chemistry and friendship between the two leaders. President Xi told the guest that he had only received foreign leader twice outside Beijing over his past five years of tenure and both were for Modiji. 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 tea-tasting along the lakeside, boat ride and museum tour.

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.

Friends,

Why China-India relations are so important that the two leaders pay such attention to?

From the bilateral perspective, we are neighbors 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, calling 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 really need a peaceful atmosphere. We should also 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 anti-globalization and rising protectionism, China and India as major emerging market economies, are faced with the pressure of established powers. As neighboring major emerging countries, we should coordinate our positions and also explore ways to be with each other.

Friends,

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.

Change is the key word of our times. The World is changing, China and India are changing. In a changing world, 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, and 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.

We should think about signing of Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. Around ten years ago, we have already provided the draft to the Indian side. Under the SCO framework, we have such a treaty.

Second, Economic Cooperation.

Former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji once said, China has the best hardware while India has the best software. China and India working together could become world's best. In the City of Linyi, northern part of China, there is a software industry park with more than 100 Indian engineers working there with their family members. They have their own temple, own restaurant and own community.

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 Mr. Zhong Shan purchased goods worthy of 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 and to take more concrete actions to solve the trade imbalance.

We would also like to negotiate a bilateral FTA with India to expand trade relations. We finished the feasibility studies around ten year ago. We may encourage economic cooperation on major projects such as new industrial parks and high-speed railways. A Chinese company has helped India finish the feasibility study of the high speed rail from Delhi to Chennai. We proposed to the Indian side to start a pilot high speed rail project from Delhi to Agra.

Connectivity cooperation is another highest priority. We are happy to speed up the cooperation among the BCIM countries. At the end of this month, the annual conference of AIIB will be held in Mumbai. India is the largest beneficiary country from AIIB.

Third, People-to-people contacts

Yunan Minzu University of China is the first University outside of India to issue MA degrees for Yoga. In Dali University of Yunnan province, there are more than 540 Indian students studying. There are more than 20000 Indian students studying in China. A 200-member Indian youth delegation will visit China early next month.

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 arrange the pilgrims by Indian Yatris to Kailash Manasarovar in China's Tibet.

Fourth, Coordination on international and regional issues

In Wuhan, Modiji briefed President Xi India's Neighborhood First Policy and the concept of the World as One. That's quite similar with President Xi's "Neighborhood diplomacy as the highest priority", and the idea of "building a community of shared future for mankind".

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, BRICS, 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.

India and Pakistan has become full member of the SCO. We hope that in the future China-India-Pakistan Leaders Meeting could be held under the SCO framework.

Fifth, Control and management of differences

India is our immediate neighbor. It's quite natural to have differences with neighbors. We need to narrow differences through expanding cooperation. However, it does not mean that differences would be ignored. We are talking about the early harvest to give hope to ourselves and to the outside world. We are talking about the CBMs along the border areas to prevent the Doklam incident from happening again. We could not imagine what would happen to the bilateral relations if the Doklam issue escalated last year. We could not stand another Doklam incident.

The boundary question between our two countries was left over by history. We need to build on convergence to find a mutual acceptable solution through the Special Representatives' Meeting while adopting confidence building measures to maintain the peace and tranquility along the border.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The China-India relations belong to all of us. What's most important is to walk to the same direction and make joint efforts to allow the Dragon and Elephant Dance while making One Plus One Eleven. I wish everyone could brainstorm, share insights and suggestions in panel discussions to make today's seminar a great success.

Thank you.

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