AMBASSADOR GAUTAM BAMBAWALE’S SPEECH at the 8th India-China Dialogue between Ananta Aspen Centre & China Reform Forum
(09th May 2018, Beijing)
Vice Chairman, China Reform Forum, Mr. Ni Jianmin, Vice Chairman, China Reform Forum, Gen. Wang Junli, Chairman, Ananta Aspen Centre, Ambassador S K Lambah, Members of Parliament, Ladies & Gentlemen, Friends,
Thank you for inviting me for this 8th India-China Dialogue. I welcome the fact that the Dialogue is resuming after a gap of one year. It did not take place in 2017 but I am confident that all of us are very happy that it is taking place today.
2. At the recently-held ‘Informal Summit’ between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi at Wuhan, both leaders spoke freely and frankly to each other on strategic and over-arching issues pertaining to the international and regional situations as well as on India-China relations. I have always maintained that if India and China have to live and progress together, especially in the 21st Century, it is essential that we engage each other seriously and talk to each other extremely frankly and candidly. The ‘Informal Summit’ was one such example of engagement at the apex level. I hope you will also do the same during the course of this Dialogue today. Talking to each other candidly will help in enhancing understanding and thereby increase trust in each other.
3. At their Wuhan Summit, Prime Minister Modi and President Xi concluded that there are many factors of commonality between India and China and that we need to expand on such convergences. Naturally, like any two countries, there are also differences between us. We can only resolve these differences, over time, if we speak to each other about them in an open manner. I do hope that in the course of your conversations today, you will touch upon both the areas of convergence as well as those of divergence between our countries. Only through such a frank, free and open dialogue, will we be able to enhance understanding between ourselves and increase trust amongst us, our two peoples, our two Governments, and our two countries.
4. An important principle in India-China relations is the necessity of being sensitive to the other country’s aspirations and interests. Absence such sensitivity, we may talk to each other but little progress will be made if we do not empathize with the other side’s point of view. I hope that such sensitivity will also be displayed in your discussions today. This is an important pre-requisite for moving forward in our bilateral ties.
5. I am very happy to see that both delegations have retired defence personnel in their composition. I would like to see a resumption of military exchanges between India and China as well as strategic communication between our top military commanders. This will be good for maintaining peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.
6. I am delighted that there are eminent personalities on both sides of this Dialogue which enhances the stature of today’s Dialogue. I look forward to receiving your conclusions and suggestions as a result of your meeting today. I wish you great success in this 8th India-China Dialogue.