Embassy of India
ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE ICWA & CPIFA
((Beijing, 25 September 2018)
President of the Chinese People's Institute for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Wu Hailong,
Director General of the Indian Council for World Affairs Ambassador TCA Raghavan,
Director of the Institute for China Studies, Delhi Ambassador Ashok Kantha,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is a pleasure and privilege to be with all of you this morning at the 5th Dialogue between the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Chinese People's Institute for Foreign Affairs. I believe that your meeting today here in Beijing is very timely as it can help in bringing up new ideas which could shape the relationship between Asia's two giants India and China.
2. When Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping met at their Informal Summit at Wuhan this past April, they reached the consensus that India and China are partners in progress and development. Over these past 40 years of reform and opening China has grown so rapidly that it has become the second largest economy in the world. India too is now growing robustly and we are on track to become a 5 trillion US Dollar economy by 2025. While we do have systemic dissimilarities our goals are identical which is to raise the living standards of our people, remove poverty and want, fight against hunger and disease, and reach a level of technology which will catapult us to the forefront of the world's economies. Therefore, there is much we can learn from each other. We can also benefit by comparing and contrasting the developmental experiences of our nations.
3. Let me also share a thought with you. India has recently launched the International Solar Alliance with a view to expand the use of solar energy by providing developing countries with technology, expertise and finance. China herself is a leading player in the development and spread of solar energy. India has invited China to join the International Solar Alliance. We hope China will do so soon.
4. At Wuhan, President Xi and Prime Minister Modi also agreed that the India – China relationship will prosper and grow if we maintain peace and tranquility on our disputed border. Therefore, they decided to provide strategic guidance to our respective militaries with the objective of sensitizing them to the larger picture which would be at stake if there are eruptions on our borders. After Wuhan, our military exchanges have not merely resumed but grown rapidly. Our military commanders are now talking to each other more frankly and more candidly than ever before. This is a good development as we cannot solve the issues between us if we are not direct and frank with each other. Strategic communication is important not merely between the top leadership of our countries but also between our diplomats, our military officers and our trade negotiators.
5. A third consensus reached between PM Modi and President Xi is that there is an urgent need to expand people-to-people exchanges between our nations. Therefore, the two governments have established a new High Level Mechanism for such exchanges the first meeting of which is to be held soon. In the meantime, India has already begun a new and invigorated campaign in China to attract many more tourists to India. Recently our Minister for Tourism held tourism road-shows in Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Shanghai where we brought together tour operators and agents from both countries so that they could offer attractive packages to tourists from each country. China will soon witness the famous Incredible India advertisements on their TV channels, in shopping malls and on city buses.
6. An important aspect of people-to-people exchanges are seminars and conferences such as this one today between our scholars and academics. We must increase such interaction if we are to understand each other better. Therefore, I urge ICWA and CPIFA to consider increasing the number of interactions between them. Perhaps, you could meet twice every year once in China and then again in India. You may also consider hosting international conferences on India – China themes where foreign scholars can also be invited to speak and provide their views. These are mere suggestions, You yourselves are highly experienced and can chalk out a more ambitious plan of action. I assure you that the Governments of India and of China will be supportive of such efforts.
7. The fact that you are meeting here on a lovely autumn day in Beijing is proof of the fresh air blowing the India – China relationship on to new pathways. I convey my best wishes to you for a successful and productive meeting. I look forward to receiving your recommendations.