Ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit, China on Monday said its relations with India were "very fragile" and needed special care and guidance from the government to the public to avoid a war of words.
"China-India relations are very fragile and very easy to be damaged and very difficult to repair. Therefore, they need special care in the information age," Chinese envoy to India Zhang Yan said at a conference in New Delhi.
Observing that public perception was vital to the development of relations, he said efforts should be made on both sides to create an objective and friendly environment based on mutual trust to ensure that there is no wrong perception of each other.
"To achieve this, the government should provide guidance to the public to avoid a war of words," Zhang said at the conference on India-China relations organised by FICCI.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who was present at the conference, sought to assuage the feelings of the Chinese envoy, by telling him that India has a "very commonsensical" and "very rational" approach to China.
But at the same time, she highlighted the "vibrant and noisy nature" of democracy to which the Chinese were exposed in India.
"Often, our Chinese friends speak of a certain gulf in appreciation of each country vis-a-vis the other, especially when it comes to opinions of that are expressed in the media of the two countries," Rao said.
"Our Chinese friends are increasingly exposed to the vibrant, I would say, noisy nature of our democracy. The fact that many schools of thought contend, many opinions are expressed which are often at divergence with each other. But I would urge them to understand that there is a certain very commonsensical, very rational approach that we in India have to China," she said.
"We see you as our largest neighbour, we regard in a real sense and an absolute sense the importance of building bridges with China, understanding China better, creating more of a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries," Rao said.
The Foreign Secretary said the betterment of relations with China was of great importance not only to the Indian leadership but also for the business and for the industry of both the countries.