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The Relations between China and India

(2004/02/02)

EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN INDIA

  

The Relations between China and India

  

I. Political Relations

Historical records show that the Sino-Indian relations can be traced back to 2nd century B. C. Two famous Chinese Buddhist monks Fahien and Huen Tsang went to India to learn the Buddhist scriptures, and the Indian monk Budhi-Dharma came to China to preach and established the Chan sect. During the War of Resistance against Japan, the Indian National Congress Party sent a medical team to China and Dr. Kotnis devoted his life to the liberation cause of the Chinese people.

In the early 1950s, China and India enjoyed amicable contacts. The two countries established diplomatic relations on 1 April 1950 and India is the first out of the non-socialist countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. In 1954, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru exchanged visits. The two leaders jointly initiated the famous Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Premier Zhou paid another visit to India in 1956. In the mid 1950s, a slogan "Hidi-Chini Bhai Bhai", which means the Indian and Chinese peoples were brothers, was known to every household.

In 1959, India supported and took in the Tibetan rebels and created bloodshed in the border areas between the two countries. In 1960, Premier Zhou went to New Delhi to meet with Prime Minister Nehru to discuss the boundary dispute. In 1962, India launched an all-out offensive armed attack against China along the Sino-Indian border areas, China was forced to fight back for self-defense. This led to a cold period of bilateral relations.

In 1976, China and India resumed designating ambassadors to each other. In 1979, Indian Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Vajpayee, paid a visit to China, and Chinese Vice Premier cum Foreign Minister, Mr. Huang Hua, visited India in 1981. In 1984, the two sides signed a trade agreement. The end of 1988 saw the visit of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China, which brought the relations of the two countries into a new stage of development. The two sides agreed that pending the solution of the boundary questions, the two countries would maintain peace and tranquillity in the areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and make efforts to improve and develop bilateral relations. The two countries also decided to establish joint working group on boundary questions, joint committees on economics & trade and science & technology. The two sides also signed the agreements of cooperation on science and technology and on civil aviation.

During Premier Li Peng's visit to India in December 1991, the two countries signed the consular treaty, agreement on resuming establishment of consulate-generals, Memorandum on resuming border trade and MOU on cooperation in science and technology for the peaceful use of outer space. This visit, having promoted an all-round improvement and development of the Sino-Indian relations, was followed by successive exchanges of high-level visits. The Chinese Consulate General in Mumbai (Bombay) and the Indian Consulate General in Shanghai were reopened respectively at the end of 1992 and early 1993. The Indian side also abrogated the discriminative and restricted laws and regulations against the Chinese nationals in India in 1992.

In September 1993, Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao visited China. The two countries signed the agreement on the maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the Sino-Indian border areas, agreements of cooperation in environment, in radio and television and protocol on opening more border trade points, which have added new contexts to the friendly cooperation between the two countries. In the same year, Mr. Li Ruihuan, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) visited India. In 1994, Indian Vice President K. R. Narayanan paid a visit to China and Mr. Qian Qichen, Chinese vice Premier cum Foreign Minister, visited India. The two countries signed agreements on avoiding double taxation, agreements of cooperation on health and medical science, MOUs on simplifying the procedure for visa application and on banking cooperation between the two countries. In 1995, Mr. Qiao Shi, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), visited India and had extensive contacts with Indian leaders. The visit has further promoted the bilateral relations.

At the end of November 1996, President Jiang Zemin paid a state visit to India, which was the first of its kind paid by the head of state from China to India since the establishment of the Sino-Indian diplomatic relations. During the visit, leaders of the two countries had fruitful talks and decided to establish a constructive partnership of cooperation on the basis of Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence towards the 21st century. They also reached broad convergence on maintaining high-level contacts between the two sides, promoting the economic & trade cooperation of the two countries and strengthening mutual support on international issues. The visit to India of Mr. Wei Jianxing, member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Secretariat, at the end of 1997, maintained the momentum of high-level dialogues between the two countries.

In May 1998, India carried out nuclear tests and made unwarranted accusations against China under the pretext of the "China threat" that seriously frustrated the Sino-Indian relations. Mr. Jaswant Singh, Indian Minister of External Affairs, visited China in June 1999. During the talks, the two sides affirmed that the premise of developing the Sino-Indian relations should be that each side does not treat the other as a threat and the basis should be the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence jointly initiated by the two countries. Sino-Indian relations thus entered into the process of improvement and development. In March 2000, officials from Foreign Ministries of the two countries, held the first round of security dialogue. April 1 saw the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Both sides celebrated the occasion in number of befitting functions. In late May, at the invitation of President Jiang Zemin, Indian President paid a state visit to China. The two sides reached broad consensus on furthering bilateral relations including the enlargement of exchanges of personnel and economic and commercial cooperation, strengthening cooperation and coordination on international and regional affairs and properly handling issues left over by history. In July, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan visited India in carrying out the consensus reached by the two leaders.

In January 2001, Mr. Li Peng, Chairman of the Standing Committee of NPC, paid an official goodwill visit to India, which is the first visit by a Chinese leader since 1998 setback of bilateral relations. Chairman Li Peng held talks or met with Indian President, Prime Minister, Chairman of Rajha Sabha and Speaker of Lok Sabha and reached broad consensus through in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common concern. Chairman Li Peng also conveyed to the Indian side important message that China is willing to establish long term stable relations of friendship and cooperation with India. The Indian side responded positively. Sino-Indian relations thus entered into the track of all-round improvement and development.

  

II. Bilateral Economical, Trade and Technological Cooperative Relations

Since 1990s, bilateral trade has developed rapidly. Bilateral trade volume amounted to 1.987 billion US dollars in 1999 and reached 2.914 billion in 2000, which witnessed an increase of 46.6% over the previous year. Now, India is the biggest trade partner of China in south Asia. The main items China exports to India include petroleum, chemical, mechanical and electrical products and those China imports from India include iron ore and chromium mineral. In 1992, the two sides formally resumed border trade at Burong of Tibet and Gunji of Indian Uttar Pradesh. Two more trade points were opened in 1994 in Jiuba of Tibet and Namgya of Indian Himachal Pradesh. Border trade volume was 2.8 million Chinese RMB in 1992, and reached 6 million in 1995. For the time being, border trade is mainly on barter basis. China and India have being interacting and discussing on unfolding mutual beneficial economic cooperation. Towards the end of 1999, China had signed 102 contracts of labor service with India, amounted to US$ 214 million, and the implemented turnover amounted to US$ 138 million. At present, cooperation between China and India in science and technology is in its initial stage. Cultural exchanges are getting active, while military exchanges revitalizing and developing.

  

III. The Sino-Indian Boundary Question

The borderline between China and India totaled about 2,000 kilometers, which is divided into the eastern, middle and western sectors. The disputed areas are about 125,000 square kms, with the eastern sector about 90,000, the middle about 2,000 and the western about 33,000. At present, India controls the whole eastern and middle sectors. While the western sector is under the control of China.

The Sino-Indian boundary question is a complicated question left over from the history. At eastern sector, British colonialists concocted the unlawful McMahon Line in 1914, which has never been recognized by the successive Chinese governments. After its independence in 1947, India not only inherited Britain's occupation of parts of Chinese territories, but also further encroached northward and pushed its borderline to the McMahon Line in 1953, as a result, invaded and occupied 90,000 square kms of Chinese territories. At western sector, in 1959, India voiced its claim to the Aksai Chin areas, counted 33,000 s.kms, of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. In April 1960, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai went to New Delhi to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Nehru, no agreements were reached due to India's insistence on its unreasonable stand. The ensuing meetings between the officials of the two countries also produced no results. In October 1962, India launched all-out armed attacks against China in the border areas, China was forced to fight back in self-defense and withdrew its troops to the Chinese side of 7 November 1959 LAC immediately after the self-defensive counter attack. Since then, the border areas between the two countries have remained quiet on the whole for quite a long period.

In February 1987, India established the so-called Arunachal Pradesh in its illegally occupied Chinese territories south of the McMahon Line. The Chinese side made solemn statements on many occasions that China never recognizes the illegal McMahon Line and the so-called Arunachal Pradesh.

In December 1988, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited China. The Prime Ministers of the two countries agreed to settle the boundary questions through the guiding principle of "Mutual Understanding and Accommodation and Mutual Adjustment". Agreement also reached that while seeking for the mutually acceptable solution to the boundary questions, the two countries should develop their relations in other fields and make efforts to create the atmosphere and conditions conducive to the settlement of the boundary questions. The two sides agreed to establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) on the boundary questions at the Vice-Foreign Ministerial level.

Up to now, the Vice-Ministerial JWG has held 12 rounds of talks on the boundary questions. The two sides have reached a consensus that the boundary questions should not become obstacles to the development of the bilateral relations in other fields and should be settled through peaceful negotiations. In 1993, the two governments signed the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas, and established an expert group to discuss the ways and means of implement of the agreement. And some progress has already been achieved. In November 1995, the two sides dismantled the guard posts in close proximity to each other along the borderline in Wangdong area, making the situation in the border areas more stable. During President Jiang Zemin's visit to India at the end of November 1996, the Governments of China and India signed the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas, which is an important step for the building of mutual trust between the two countries. The signing and implementation of the agreements would be conducive to the better maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the China-Indian border areas and to the creation of a congenial for the ultimate settlement of the boundary questions.

  

IV. Cooperation between the Two Countries in International Affairs

Facing with the complicated and rapidly changing international situation, China and India hold similar or identical views towards major international issues and bilateral cooperation on international and regional affairs have been strengthened continuously. As two biggest developing countries in the world, China and India enjoy broad convergence on vindicating the legitimate interests of developing countries and establishing a just and reasonable international political and economic order. A stable, normal and friendly Sino-Indian relations are beneficial to the peace, stability and development of Asia and the world as a whole.

  

V. Important Bilateral Documents

Trade Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of India

(signed in August 1984)

Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of India

(signed in May 1988)

Sino-Indian Joint Press Communiqué

(published on 23 December 1988, Beijing)

Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of India on Maintenance Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas

(signed in September 1993)

Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of India on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas

(signed in November 1996)

  



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