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India, China must resist contradictory pulls: PM

Vajpayee has said the two countries should resist contradictory pulls and deploy their resources in a mutually reinforcing manner to make 21st century the Asian century.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2003 16:53 IST

Stressing that India and China were not a threat to each other,Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday said the two countries should resist "contradictory pulls" and deploy their resources in a"mutually reinforcing manner" to make 21st century the Asian century.

Doing some plain-speaking at the Peking University,Vajpayee said,"For two countries of our human resources,economic strengths and technological skills, we have only scratched the surface".

Recalling remarks made by senior Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping years back of making the 21st century the Asian century,he said,"To do so effectively,we should be conscious of our complementary strengths,resist contradictory pulls and deploy our resources in a mutually reinforcing manner."

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that"our trust and understanding should be able to withstand forces which seek to divide us".

On constant references to "rivalry" between India and China,Vajpayee,who is on a six-day visit,said one had to clearly understand the difference between healthy competition and"divisive rivalry".

"We should focus on the simple truth that there is no objective reason for discord between us and neither of us is a threat to the other. These simple,but profound principles should form the bedrock of the future India-China relationship," he said.

The Prime Minister inaugurated a centre of Indian studies for which he announced that the Indian government would contribute one million rupees annually for the first five years towards its running costs.

The Prime Minister said even in the present-day world, there were examples of countries which have maintained close political coordination, strengthened their economic complementarities and harmonised their international objectives while keeping up a healthy economic and commercial competition.

The developing world in general, and India and China in particular, could benefit greatly by absorbing the lessons from these experiences, he emphasised.

"One cannot wish away the fact that before good neighbours can truly fraternise with each other, they must first mend their fences. After a hiatus of a few decades, India and China embarked on this important venture a few years ago," he said.

Observing that the two sides have made "good progress", Vajpayee said he was convinced that with "steadfast adherence" to the five principles of peaceful coexistence with mutual sensitivity to the concerns of each other, and with respect for equality, they could further accelerate this process "so that we can put this difference firmly behind us".

Vajpayee said he was "encouraged" after his discussions with Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao that both countries saw an opportunity to proceed along this path.

"It is a tryst with destiny, which beckons to us. When we redeem it, we can truly fulfil the ideal of close cooperation, described so colourfully by Gurudev Rabdindranath Tagore," he said.

First Published: Jun 23, 2003 16:40 IST