Seize the New Opportunities in China-India Strategic Cooperation

—Speech at the Indian Council of World Affairs

中华人民共和国国务院总理 李克强
H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

Honorable Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs of India, Honorable MP H.K. Dua, Representative of the Indian Council of World Affairs, Honorable Sidharth Birla, Vice President of the Federation of Indian, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaste (Good day)!

It is my great pleasure to come here and meet with friends from various sectors who care about friendly relations between China and India. I wish to thank the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) for the warm reception and thoughtful arrangements. Twenty-seven years ago, I visited India as a leader of China’s youth organization. During the visit, I was deeply impressed by India’s vast territory, splendid civilization and talented people. Returning to India after so many years has brought back to me many fond memories. So let me take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, our deep respect to the great people of India!

Over the last two days, I have had friendly, candid and fruitful talks and meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Indian leaders. Both sides are very satisfied with the visit and there are positive commentaries in international media. We both agree that as neighboring countries with the largest populations and greatest market potential, China and India are natural partners of cooperation and we should see each other’s development as an important opportunity for ourselves. Our two countries have far more common interests than differences. If we can achieve common development, it will be a true blessing for Asia and the world. Both sides have expressed a determination to open up a new chapter in the bilateral relations, and foster new bright spots of Asian cooperation and new engines for the global economy.

Most importantly, as strategic partners, China and India have reached extensive strategic consensus and increased strategic trust. Rather than shying away from the boundary question which has been left over from history, we have agreed to advance the boundary negotiations. We both believe that as two ancient civilizations, China and India have the wisdom to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution. Before the boundary question is resolved, we will improve the relevant mechanisms on border affairs and increase their efficiency, properly manage differences, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas. This serves the common interests of both countries. With regard to the issue of trans-border river, the Chinese side understands India’s concerns. In the larger interest of China-India relations as well as the humanitarian spirit, we have been providing assistance to the Indian side in terms of sharing flood-season hydrological information and managing emergency situations. 

We are ready to enhance cooperation with India in this regard, and strengthen communication on the utilization and protection of trans-border rivers. As for the Indian side’s concern about the bilateral trade deficit, let me say that we would like to see more competitive Indian products enter the Chinese market and stand ready to provide facilitation. It has never been China’s intention to seek a trade surplus. Only a dynamic trade balance is sustainable. So China supports its enterprises to increase investment in India and encourages Chinese companies to expand trade in services. Through these and other ways, we can narrow the trade gap in goods.

During this visit, the two sides also discussed regional security issues. We both hope to see peace and tranquility in South Asia and encourage dialogue as the way to resolve the relevant issues. The fact that we are able to put issues of mutual concern on the table and have open and honest discussions about them shows that both sides have the sincerity for exchanges and the wisdom for solving problems. As long as we look to the future, increase mutual trust and focus energy on resolving problems and deepening cooperation, we will succeed in taking China-India relations to a new high.

During my visit, the two sides have agreed some new, practical outcomes for the purpose of growing our Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. First, we have launched a new agenda for all-round cooperation between our two fast growing neighboring countries. The Joint Statement issued by the two sides provides the strategic framework for furthering cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, people-to-people, international and other arenas. It will be a new launch pad for China-India relations. The two sides have confirmed that China and India are important partners rather than competitors. To achieve common development, China and India need to sign a number of agreements for all-round cooperation. During this visit, we have made a good start.

Second, we have established new ways for connecting and drawing on the complementarity of our two most promising markets. The two sides have discussed trade and investment facilitation, and agreed to promote large cooperation projects including industrial zones and railways, and work for a dynamic balance in bilateral trade and a larger scale of economic cooperation between China and India.
Third, we have explored new ways for increasing connectivity between our two emerging economies. We are ready to jointly initiate the development of a BCIM Economic Corridor, promote border trade and create a bigger market and greater synergy for development. 

Fourth, we have identified new areas of people-to-people and cultural exchanges between our two time-honored nations. The two sides have decided to deepen cultural and youth exchanges, and designated 2014 as the Year of China-India Friendly Exchanges to increase mutual understanding and friendship. I am confident that it will not take long to harvest rich fruits from the seeds of friendship we have sown today. Fifth, we have agreed to strengthen communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. Both sides would like to see better representation and greater voice for major developing countries in international organizations. China would like to see India play a more important and constructive role in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We live in an age of change, but there are always certain things that are enduring and full of vigor and vitality. India is such a nation, as young as it is old. For thousands of years, India has written magnificent chapters in human history. Today, it is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. India has seen a steady rise in its national strength and international standing and it is playing an increasingly notable role as a major country in the world. As India’s friendly neighbor, China offers hearty congratulations on its enormous achievements.

中国和印度山水相连,友好交往源远流长。两个东方文明古国曾创造令人惊叹的辉煌历史,过去几百年也都有一段受压迫、受冲击的经历。现在,两国都走上推进现代化的伟大征程,近10年来中 国和印度经济平均增长率都在7%以上。双方关系也走上了健康、成熟的发展轨道。中印人口相加超过全球的1/3,两国的振兴和互动必然会吸引世人的目光,中印关系无疑是21世纪世界上最重要的双边关系之一。
China and India are connected by common mountains and rivers; our friendly exchanges date back to ancient times. Our two time-honored Oriental nations have both written an amazing history. In the past few centuries, both countries suffered foreign oppression and external shocks. Now we are both on a great journey towards modernization and we have both registered an annual growth rate of over 7% in the last decade. And our relations have entered a track of sound and mature growth. With a combined population of over one-third of the world’s total, our rejuvenation and interaction attract the attention of the world. Without a doubt, China-India relations are one of the most important bilateral relationships in the 21st century world.


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