China has dismissed global forecasts that a democratic India will overtake the Communist giant on the economic front by 2020, saying those predictions lacked "statistical evidence".
"There is a prevailing belief in the international community that India will overtake China by 2020. This statement lacks statistical evidence," Secretary-General of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Wang Jinzhen said.
"Both are moving towards prosperity. Reform and opening up in China began in 1978 which prompted rapid economic growth. India also launched reform measures in 1991, which followed a policy of liberalisation and globalisation," he said.
"China and India are following two very different development models," Jinzhen said when asked to comment on the findings of the World Economic Forum 2006 global competitiveness rankings, which placed China 11 places behind India.
Reacting to some global experts who likened China and India to the tortoise and the hare in Aesop's famous fable, Jinzhen said "To use the analogy of the race between the tortoise and the hare for the competition between China and India is fantastic."
"Only when the hare (China) naps does the tortoise (India) overtake the hare. China will never 'nap' in the process of its economic development," he told People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in a recent interview ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India.
Last year, China's GDP was the fourth largest in the world and India also ranked in the top 10. Both China and India are experiencing rapid economic development and expect a bright future. This has attracted worldwide attention, Wei acknowledged.
"It doesn't matter whether China surpasses India. The key issue is how to keep China on a path of sound development, with long-term, rapid and sustainable growth," the senior Chinese trade expert said.