Indo-China ties may get a leg up with tourism and cultural initiatives
Weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informal summit with President Xi Jinping in the Chinese city of Wuhan to reset bilateral relations, the two countries are attempting to boost tourism and cultural ties
On May 9, tourism minister KJ Alphons attended a conference on tourism in Wuhan for delegates to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which also groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
Within a week, culture minister Mahesh Sharma, led an Indian delegation to attend a two-day meeting of ministers from the eight SCO member states in Sanya. Both ministers said they visited China on Modi’s instructions and planned to aggressively promote cultural and tourism ties with China.
“I visited China under the Hon’ble PM’s instruction as it will be a major focus area to promote tourism,” said Alphons.
Sharma said his visit was part of an initiative by the prime minister e to strengthen cultural relations between the two countries.
“The Hon’ble Prime Minister asked me to visit China and I am proud to say that all SCO member states gave a warm welcome to us,” he said.
Modi and Xi met in late April for the informal summit aimed at resetting bilateral relations marred by a 73-day military standoff at the India-China-Bhutan trijunction in Doklam.The standoff was resolved through diplomatic channels.
Sharma said that the two countries have reached an agreement to increase cultural exchange programmes. “I, with my Chinese counterpart, decided to increase cultural exchanges, shows and events...” he said.
Around 850,000 Indian tourists visit China every year whereas only 280,000 Chinese travel to India. “The Chinese tourists’ outbound traffic across the world is 122 million. If I can get 10% of that... it’s more than what we get from all over the world...” said Alphons.