Time to merge India’s look-east policy with Beijing’s attempts to look west: China

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Jun 11, 2014 01:21 IST

China on Tuesday exuded some more of its new found warmth for Sino-India relations with the foreign ministry saying Beijing was ready to harmonise New Delhi's 'look east policy' with its own attempts to open up to the west.

Till now, Beijing has mostly raised eyebrows at India's attempts to forge closer trade ties with countries ringing the South China Sea like Vietnam.

But now, in the glow of bilateral warmness following foreign minister, Wang Yi's packed New Delhi visit, which was of "great significance", it all seems a little different.

India's look east policy began to evolve during the tenure of then PM PV Narasimha Rao when India began to engage countries in east and Southeast Asia for closer trade and security ties; China with its claims over nearly the entire South China Sea did not look at it very kindly.

"China is willing to work with India to integrate our development strategies, exchange our development experiences, synchronise India's Look East Policy with China's policy of opening up to the west, so as to seek common development and make due contribution to the world civilization," Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, said on Tuesday.

Hua also talked about integrating the Chinese and Indian dreams. The "China Dream" has been President Xi Jinping's call to rejuvenate the Chinese society and Hua possibly meant that both countries want to emerge among the leading, influential countries and economies of the world.

As Xi's special envoy to India, Wang, according to Hua, took the following message to new Indian leadership under Prime Minister, Narendra Modi: "…Chinese leaders pay attention to growing relations with India, common interests between the two countries far outweigh disputes, we are natural partners rather than rivals and the Chinese and Indian dream integrate with each other, so we should build closer partnership with each other."

Practical cooperation and people-to-people ties should be cemented, "…so as to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas," she said.

Quoting Wang, Hua said Sino-Indian ties were "now at a new starting point" and "faced with new development opportunities".

Development between the two countries should be "peaceful, cooperative and inclusive" Hua said, adding that the effort should be to "make Sino-Indian relations a mainstream of bilateral relations".

"We expect to make joint efforts with India to bring our amicable and friendly relations with India to a new high," Hua said.

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