India-China cooperation outweighs our differences
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet at Wuhan city for a two-day informal summit, starting Friday. As the world’s two largest developing countries and major emerging markets, the two nations have to explore ways to get along with each other. With the current backlash against globalisation, a heart-to-heart dialogue between the two leaders will promote free trade, strengthen unity among developing countries and uphold the principles of equity and justice.
Both countries are at a critical stage of economic development and modernisation. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) recently laid out the blueprint for making the nation a great modern socialist country. India also has a three-year blueprint to achieve a “New India” by 2022 and a 15-year National Development Agenda. The three-year agenda mentions China 67 times. This is because our development goals are similar. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, Xi and Modi have met 13 times. When the Doklam standoff began, the two leaders’ inputs and the wisdom of the diplomatic teams helped to reach a resolution.
India-China relations have been stabilising and improving. Since the end of 2017, China and India’s Special Representatives on Boundary Question and foreign ministers have exchanged visits. The China-India Joint Economic Groups, China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue and other dialogue mechanisms have been activated. These efforts contributed to a positive atmosphere for the informal summit. Economic and trade cooperation between the two nations is surging. There have also been cultural and personnel exchanges. There are 14 pairs of sister city/provinces. Personnel exchanges in 2017 exceed 1 million. Over 20,000 Indians study in China and 42 flights operate between the two countries every week. Yoga, Darjeeling tea and Bollywood movies are popular in China. Chinese language education has promising prospects in India.
History is full of touching stories of monks such as Xuanzang and Bodhidharma traveling over mountains and oceans between China and India. In the 1950s, China and India co-proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Panchsheel), a new contribution to modern international relations. President Xi and Modi’s leadership will contribute to the process of building a new type of international relations with a shared future for mankind.
It’s natural for neighbours to have differences. When differences can’t be solved for now, we should properly manage them and focus on cooperation. Our consensus and cooperation outweigh differences and competition. We should bear in mind our bilateral long-term vision, hold reasonably optimistic expectations and give full play to five magic tools: the Navigator (strategic guidance of the two leaders), the accelerator (practical cooperation), the booster (people-to-people exchanges), the enhancer (multilateral cooperation), and the stabiliser (controlling differences).
Luo Zhaohui is China’s ambassador to India
The views expressed are personal