India, China competition is not adversarial, says Indian envoy

By Fakir Hassen, IANS,

Macau : Competition between India and China for global markets is not adversarial and there is overarching consensus across India’s political spectrum that a well-balanced relationship with China is vital to India, said Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao.

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Rao was delivering the keynote address at the Global Business Forum here, organised as part of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) weekend which sees the glamour of Bollywood combine with the business of entertainment.

“It is heartening to see similar sentiments expressed by the top leaders in China, who have defined ties with India as a strategic policy of their country,” Rao told about 500 delegates from across the globe in this territory that is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of China, the other being Hong Kong.

Referring to the change from Indian discourse on China being restricted to largely the boundary question two decades ago, Rao said that the change in approach had contributed to an increase in mutual confidence.

“Our trade exceeded US $50 billion in 2008. Today we have much more substantive interactions between the two governments, a much deeper understanding of each others’ positions on key issues, a much stronger desire to learn from each other and much more acknowledgement of the common objectives and shared destiny of the two countries in their developmental processes.”

Rao also commended civil society for its involvement in shaping ties between the two countries.

Commenting on the common refrain of the competitive relationship between India and China in the world economy, Rao said there would always be an overlap between competition and cooperation: “There is enough space for both India and China to grow and prosper while strengthening our cooperative engagement. All countries must compete in global markets and such competition is not inconsistent with cooperation nor is it adversarial.”

“Our two economies have the potential to become engines of global economic growth and we must use our natural and human resources, technology and capital for the common benefit of the region,” Rao said.

Rao’s sentiments were echoed by Chen Wenjie, president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Guangdong, who called for greater cooperation between not only entrepreneurs and governments, but also trade promotion forums such as FICCI, which organised the IIFA event.

FICCI representative KK Modi emphasised the need to relax the visa regime to make access for businessmen on both sides easier.