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Speech by Ambassador Le Yucheng at India East Asia Foundation

A Visit to Jointly Weave China-India Dream of Friendship and Development

(From Chinese Embassy in Indian)

2014/09/25

Respected Mr. Tarun Vijay, Member of Parliament,
Respected Professor Tan Chung,
Respected Ambassador Rangachari,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

Namaste!

It is a great pleasure for me to attend and speak at today's symposium. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you President Xi Jinping's state visit to India last week.

This visit is hailed as a historic one because President Xi is the first head of state of a major country that has visited India since the new government of India assumed office, also because it has been 8 years since the last state visit by Chinese President. This visit has been the focus of attention in our two countries as well as in the international community.

As the Chinese Ambassador in India, I have had the privilege to accompany President Xi during his visit. I would like to share with you a few observations and reflections on the visit.

First of all, let me share a very impressive moment that has been widely reported throughout the world. In this picture, President Xi and Prime Minister Modi sat side by side and ran the legendary Charkha at Gandhi Ashram. This is not only the vivid depiction of two statesmen siting casually on the ground, bonding with each other, but also the symbol of our two neighboring countries coming together with sincerity and mutual trust, draw together all threads of our ties, and jointly weave them into a beautiful tapestry of shared dream of friendship and development.

Looking back on the visit, there are four features that strike me the most.

Firstly, the length of talks. The time for leaders of the two countries being together were extraordinarily long, and schedules very tight. There have been more than 20 programs in Gujarat and New Delhi, in which President Xi and President Mukherjee, Prime Minister Modi, Vice President Ansari have talked for nearly 20 hours. They had exchanged ideas fully on matters of common concern during these sessions, that very often the meetings exceeded the scheduled time. If there is anything about the visit that could be considered luxurious, the 20 hours committed by our all-too-busy leaders can be counted, from which we can see how much importance they attach on China-India ties.

Secondly, the many highlights. At the first stop of the visit, Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi received President Xi at the doorway of the hotel and accompanied him throughout all the programs. The two leaders, wearing the Khadi jackets, visited Gandhi Ashram, took a walk along Riverfront, enjoyed the art performances, folk swings, birthday celebrations in amicable atmosphere. In New Delhi, besides the official functions, President Xi delivered an important speech, received youth from both countries, and conferred friendship awards. Madam Peng Liyuan visited the Tagore International School and cordially mingled with teachers and students. The eye-catching metaphors in new headlines such as "Chinese Dragon", "Indian Elephant", and "inch towards miles" have made us smile and think. The whole visit went on in a very warm atmosphere.

Thirdly, the fruitful outcomes. The two countries issued the Joint Statement on Building a Closer Partnership for Development, which reflect the wide-ranging consensus reached by the two leaders on bilateral, regional and international affairs. The two sides signed 16 bilateral documents in trade, investment, outer space, local and people-to-people exchanges and other areas, which make plans and guide directions for our future cooperation.

Fourthly, the profound impacts. This visit has been widely focused by the international community. The number of journalists from China, India and other countries covering this event totaled nearly 200. The major TV channels, newspapers and online media competed in bringing the news to countless viewers and readers. During the visit, many scholars held seminars, wrote commentaries and made proposals. All these endeavors form an important part of our bilateral exchanges. It is very meaningful for you to hold this symposium. It will have far-reaching impacts on positively disseminating and implementing the outcome of the visit, and will facilitate the exchanges among our two peoples.

Allow me to take this opportunity to commend the Indian Asia Foundation for taking the initiative and hosting today's symposium.

As a witness and participant of this visit, I would like to share with you my observations of the outcome and significance of the visit. I find this visit significant from four perspectives.

First, it has carried forward friendship. As two ancient civilizations, we enjoy thousands years of friendly exchanges. The story of Xuan Zang, the Chinese eminent monk of Tang Dynasty, who went on a pilgrimage for Buddist scriptures to India, is well known to every household from China and India. On President Xi's arrival in Gujarat, where Xuan Zang had stayed, he was welcomed by hundreds of thousands of local people on the two sides of the street. The sincerity and warmth shown through their smile, applause and greetings touched not only President Xi, but all 1.3 billion Chinese people. In his meetings and public address, President Xi quoted widely from Mahatma Gandhi and Tagore, and recalled frequently his visit in India 17 years ago for local exchanges. All these have indicated his passion for India's ancient civilization and splendid culture. In spite of a very tight schedule, President Xi met with family representatives of Doctor Kothis, the member of the India aid medical team to China, and youth representatives from both countries. He proposed "China-India Cultural Exchange Project", according to which the scale of our annual youth exchange program will be greatly enlarged. China has decided to open a new route for Indian pilgrimage through Nathula Pass to the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, in order to make their annual Kailash Manasarovar Yatra easier. This move has been highly appreciated by both Indian Government and the people. We may say, this visit has not only fully manifested, but also greatly carried forward the time-honored friendship between China and India.

Secondly, it has broadened cooperation. China and India are two largest developing countries and emerging market economies. As "world factory" and "world office", we are highly complementary in economy, and have great potential for cooperation. President Xi attached great importance to practical cooperations in this visit. One of his most important proposals was that China and India should establish a closer partnership for development. China will invest 20 billion US Dollars in India in the next 5 years in various industrial and infrastructure development projects, and establish 2 industrial parks, one in Gujarat and one in Maharashtra. China will take part in India's effort in updating existing railways, and provide support to heavy haul and redevelopment of existing railway stations. The two countries will also consider cooperation on a High Speed Rail project in the future. The two sides signed the Five-Year Development Program for Economic and Trade Cooperation, and enhance cooperation in pharmaceutical, agricultural and IT products, so that China could import more marketable products from India. This has outlined the roadmap for the two countries to deepen economic relations, and rebalance bilateral trade. President Xi also suggested that China and India should take the lead in regional growth, accelerate the construction of the BCIM Economic Corridors, support each other in taking part in regional and sub-regional cooperation, make contributions to the construction of Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century, so that China-India cooperation could deliver more benefits to all peoples in the region.

Thirdly, it has promoted development partnership. As the two biggest developing countries in the world, China and India are both in the great historical course of national rejuvenation, and both burdened with heavy task of development. China and India share the same development goals, similar development ideas and consistent development strategies. In recent years, Indian economy has developed in a rapid speed, becoming the third biggest economy in Asia and the second biggest exporter of IT and farm products in the world. Especially in Gujarat, it has contributed 16% of industrial output and 22% of export to the country with only a 5% of population, which was very impressive. President Xi stressed that China and India should make development our biggest common strategic goal, and establish a closer partnership for development. China's Opening Up to the West should connect with India's Looking East policy, with a view to form the most competitive manufacturing base, the most attractive market, and the most powerful growth engines in the world. The Indian side reacted positively, by highly commenting on China's development achievements and opening up policy, and stating its readiness to cooperate with China, so that the two countries could learn from each other and achieve common development. Considering the size of our two countries, I am confident that if we could further connect our development strategies and respective advantages, the impact would be far-reaching. We would be able to lead regional growth and promote development and prosperity in Asia.

Fourth, it has promoted peace. Current international situation is generally stable. The trends of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit can be felt more than ever. Nevertheless, the world is still not peaceful. The unjust and unreasonable phenomena in international relations remain obvious. Regional conflict and local wars emerge one after another. Many countries are striving for peace and stability. President Xi pointed out that, as two important forces in the process of multi-polarization, and countries of great influence in the world, if China and India speak with one voice, the whole world will listen, and if China and India join hands, the whole world will take notice. The two sides have agreed to enhance strategic communication and coordination in regional and international affairs, and act as active constructors of international system. China welcomes and supports India to become a full member in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). We hope the Indian side would support China's effort to develop relations with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). China and India should be strategic partners in global affairs, and strong anchors for regional peace. The two countries should build on and carry forward the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and join hands to make our due contribution to world and regional peace and stability.

I would like to talk about the border issue that you may care about. During President Xi's visit, the media reported the recent standoffs in China-India western border area. The two leaders had in-depth exchanges on the issue, and reached important consensus on properly resolving it. This in itself embodies the strategic vision and the political mutual trust of the two leaders. The border issue is a historical burden left to us by history. About this issue, we stay committed to seeking a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through friendly consultation. We hold that pending the final settlement, the two countries should make full use of existing mechanisms and the flag meetings of border personnel, to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border area. We should prevent the border issue from holding up the development of bilateral relations. I have noticed that the Indian media often describe the border issue as "clouds bearing down on the city". But I am confident that a few clouds in the sky can never shut out the brilliant sunrays. As long as we continue to draw wisdom from our two ancient civilizations, have sufficient foresight, courage and tolerance, we will be able to dispel the clouds from obstructing our sights, and will not lose sight of the direction of China-India friendship in the clouds.

Ladies, Gentlemen, Friends,

It has been just two weeks since I took post as Chinese Ambassador to India. It is a great honor for me to witness this milestone visit and participate in important moments in China-India relations at the very beginning of my tenure. The success of the visit, as well as the hospitality, sincerity and friendship shown by the Indian government and people, have greatly encouraged me. I am more than ever confident about the future of China-India relations.

The experts and scholars present today have long been dedicated to China-India friendship, and made important contributions to our bilateral relations. I would like to build close working relations, as well as personal friendship with every one of you, and hope for your continued support and help. Currently, China-India relations face great historic opportunities to move ahead. I hope to work with you and pool our wisdom, to implement the important consensus reached by our two leaders on establishing a closer partnership for development, and raise China-India strategic cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity to a new level. Let us work hard and make due contributions to the peace and benefits of 2.5 billion people of China and India.

Dhanyavad!

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