Quoting the Upanishads and invoking Gandhi, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao emphasised that India and China are friends, not rivals. “We will always be friends. We will never be rivals,” he told a gathering at the Indian Council of World Affairs on Thursday.
Expressing his appreciation for the “hardworking, talented and great people” of India, the premier said he was particularly impressed with the way India handled the impact of the global financial crisis. “I congratulate you,” he said, drawing applause from the audience of academics and diplomats.
Wen said India’s rise has enhanced the confidence and strength of all developing countries, including China.
On the sensitive border issues between India and China, however, Wen said these have a “historical legacy” and are not “easy to resolve.” But he said measures should be taken to increase mutual trust and confidence step by step.
“The boundary questions require patience and will take a fairly long period of time. Only with sincerity, mutual trust and perseverance can we eventually find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution,” Wen said. “In the face of difficulty, the most important thing to do is to press ahead along the right track, narrow differences step by step, build consensus and increase confidence,” he said. Wen recalled he and PM Manmohan Singh had agreed to set up a working mechanism for consultation and coordination on border affairs.
The Chinese leader said that in a multipolar world order, the world would have to listen to the voice of India and China. He said both countries must work together on areas of converging interests. “As a fast-growing big country with over a billion people, India should and can play an increasingly important role in international affairs,” he said, but supported India’s bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council only obliquely.
“China and India have shared interests and common views on the issue of UN Security Council reform. We both maintain that priority should be given to increasing the representation of developing countries,” he said. According to Wen, both countries have a long way to go, and can cooperate because both face “similar challenges”.
On trade issues, Wen said he was sensitive to Indian concerns about the trade deficit between the two countries and would work out greater market access for Indian pharmaceutical and IT companies in his country.
‘India’s rise has enhanced the confidence and strength of all developing countries’
Wen expressed his appreciation for the hardworking, talented and great people of India.
The premier said he was particularly impressed with the way India handled the impact of the global financial crisis
‘As a fast-growing big country with over a billion people, India should and can play an increasingly important role in international affairs’