Home India News India, China downplay differences, to keep ties on track

India, China downplay differences, to keep ties on track


New Delhi: Taking a mature and long-range view of their relationship, leaders of India and China Thursday pledged not to allow differences to derail the larger relationship as the two countries marked the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

Indian and Chinese leaders exchanged warm greetings and underlined that their relations are crucial to regional and global peace and prosperity as they cooperate in diverse areas ranging from trade, climate change to counter-terrorism and maritime piracy.

“We regard the future of India-China relations with optimism,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

Manmohan Singh stressed that he looked forward to working with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao “to harness the vast potential for the further expansion of our ties to realise the mutual aspirations of our two peoples”.

President Pratibha Patil and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and their counterparts also exchanged felicitations.

In his message, Chinese President Hu Jintao said bilateral relations between China and India have steadily developed since the establishment of diplomatic relations and stressed that better relations between the two countries hold the key to global peace and stability.

Krishna will go to Beijing Tuesday on a four-day visit to formally kick off the year-long celebrations of the ‘Year of India in China’ and the 60th anniversary of India-China ties.

Repudiating suggestions of rivalry between them, both India and China underlined that there was enough room in Asia and the world to accommodate the two rising powers.

Speaking at a seminar, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said India and China have found a way to manage their differences over “the most complicated and difficult” boundary dispute and have decided not to allow it to stand in the way of expanding ties in other areas.

Menon underlined the need to “evolve a detailed framework for the resolution of the boundary dispute in a manner that is feasible to both leaderships.”

“Differences in world view, structure, systems and foreign policy making have not prevented and will not prevent an expanding engagement between India and China,” said Menon, himself a former foreign secretary and ambassador to China.

Saying that there is common ground between India and China on combating terrorism and extremism, enhancing maritime security, Menon stressed on on the need for a peaceful environment that will enable the domestic transformation of the two countries.

“…it is my understanding that the elements of competition in the bilateral relationship can be managed and the elements of congruence can be built upon.”

“As our interests get progressively more complex, the costs of withdrawal from engagement rise,” he said.

Against the backdrop of media frenzy over a host of issues last year, including reported Chinese incursions, Menon warned against “misperceptions and distortions” that could cloud India-China ties and underlined the need for vigorous public diplomacy to build better relations.

Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan, too, advocated better handling of public opinion to create stronger relations between India and China.

“Public opinion is vitally important to the development of our relations. Two countries should provide correct guidance to the public opinion and avoid war of words,” Zhang said.

“Without trust there can be no genuine relationship. Without trust, there can be no sustained and meaningful cooperation,” the envoy said.

Bilateral trade has exceeded $40 billion and is set to expand further. India and China also cooperated closely on climate change negotiations at the Copenhagen conference in December last year.