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Way for China-India relations is still long, but promising

(From Chinese Embassy in Indian)


On April 11, 2016, Indian Newspaper Deccan Herrald published the article "Way for China-India relations is still long, but promising" of Chinese Ambassador Le Yucheng. The full text is as follows:

1. You took over as China's ambassador to India just before September 2014 visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India. As you are now set to leave India, could you please give us an update on the progress in India-China relations over the past 19 months of your tenure?

Time flies fast! I have already been in India exactly 19 months. I'm privileged to have experienced a special period of great significance both in the history of India and of China-India relations, and witness unprecedented changes and breakthrough development in China-India relations from estrangement to engagement and from divergence to convergence.

I witnessed close and frequent interaction between our leaders in the past one year and half. I am honored to receive president Xi Jinping in his first state visit to India a few days after assuming ambassadorship and accompany PM Modi in his China visit. The visits injected strong dynamism to and ushered in a new era in China-India relations. Now interaction between the two leadership has become a regularity. Our leaders met at least 8 times in the past one year and half, setting direction and drawing blue print for this important relationship.

I witnessed the investing boom from China to India. A few years back, there were few Chinese companies investing India, but now many rush to India, with the Indian market becoming more attractive.

I witnessed dynamic people-to-people exchanges, which is a bright spot in our relations. The opening of Nathula pass for Indian pilgrims and the launch of e-visa for Chinese tourists are two milestones. Last year, for the first time in history, two-way visits exceeded 1 million. This year the number is growing at 25%, the highest growth ever seen in history. Dialogue and exchanges between think tanks, media and local governments are flourishing. And I can't wait to see the 4 movies of our joint production. I witnessed close cooperation between China and India on regional and global issues. The BRICS and AIIB are recent examples of our cooperation. I learned that AIIB plans to provide India with $300 to 400 million loan in solar power. From climate change to financial cooperation, from regional connectivity to BRICS cooperation, we have a big part to play in shaping a new world order that is more fair and equitable.

These changes and development show that China-India relations are at the best time in half a century. As our two countries continue to develop and our roles in the world continue to grow, the huge potential in out relations will be increasingly brought out. Like all relations, we may have some sensitive issues and differences, but the direction of China-India relations is set, and the growth is irreversible, because this is the call of the times. We must work to add more building blocks and remove stumbling blocks, and drive our relations forward.

2. What's the latest situation of China-India economic engagement?

Both China and India are big developing countries, which have maintained rapid economic growth and become important engines of world economy. The economic structures of our two countries are more complementary than competitive. In the context of the sluggish demand and weak growth of the world economy, our bilateral trade continued to grow in 2015, and reached $71.6 billion. China's investment in India is also growing rapidly and the investment stock has reached nearly $4 billion. In 2015, investment agreements worth $40 billion were signed. A large number of well-known Chinese enterprises, such as Alibaba, Wanda Group, Xiaomi smartphone, LeEco, VIVO, etc., are optimistic about the Indian market and rush to invest in India. Many Indian friends are concerned about the construction of industrial parks invested by China so hereby I would like to focus on it.

In September of 2014, President Xi Jinping announced the establishment of two industrial parks in India during his visit. Now the plan has been developed in progress. Some manufacturers such as Tebian Electric Apparatus have formally started operation in the industry park in Gujarat. And the investment of automobile industrial park in Maharashtra has been expanded. These two industrial parks amount to $6.8 billion in investment.

Since 2015, Chinese companies significantly accelerate the construction of industrial parks, and continue to make positive progress. Wanda Group plans to invest $10 billion in constructing industrial park in Haryana. The MOU of this project was signed in January 2016 and construction will start this year. China Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Group has also signed a MOU with Gujarat on the establishment of industrial park, with a total investment of about $1 billion. China Fortune Land Development Co. has reached a preliminary cooperation intention with Haryana government, and proposed to construct industrial park by public-private partnership model. In addition, there are about 100 small or medium-sized Chinese companies plan to invest $1 billion to India.

Industrial cooperation between China and India has developed substantially, especially in the railway sector, construction machinery, mobile phone, new energy. By the end of 2015, China had implemented around 100 projects in India, worth nearly $10 billion. Apart from traditional areas such as power and telecommunications, cooperation projects in steel, transport, energy and many other fields keep emerging. Chinese technologies and equipment have won growing recognition from the Indian market.

3. India has over the past one year moved into a closer strategic partnership with United States, Japan and Australia. How does China view all these developments? Do you think these developments could have an impact on India-China relations?

China hopes to see cooperation and friendship of all countries, not conflict and tension. With the expansion of national development and interests, both China and India are destined to reach out and deeply integrate into the world, which is the inevitable trend. China has no objection to India developing normal relations with other countries that are not against any third country. China is also playing an increasingly important role on the international society, and pursues friendly and cooperative relations with all countries.

Countries may have different history, culture and social system, but their interests are intertwined. Mutual respect is especially important in our relationships. We must respect each other's core interests and concerns, and choice of development path, not interfere in each other's internal affairs, not engage in military and political alliances against third parties, and remain committed to promoting peace, stability and development of the region and beyond.

4. What is your take on the future of ties between India and China, two Asian giants?

The bilateral relations cannot develop without the guidance of the leaders. This year, the G20 summit and BRICS Leaders' Meeting will be held in China and India respectively, setting the stage for our leaders to meet again. With more interaction of our leaders, there will be a brighter future of China-India relations unfolding.

The bilateral relations cannot develop without a solid base of popular support. I have many touching stories to share with you. First is the story of blood donation. In 2014, about 100 Chinese people in Zhejiang province, China, queued up to donate blood for an Indian businessman who suddenly fell ill. A few months later, 100 Indian businessmen in China donated blood for a local girl suffering from leukemia. In 2015, a Chinese news editor donated stem cells for an unknown Indian boy. Moved by the stories, I wrote an article in the Economic Times--"Dear boy, Aal Izz Well!". Upon reading my article, an 11-year-old girl from Mumbai wrote me a letter, saying that "China and India should keep the past behind and move ahead", as "we are living in a time of collaboration and not confrontation". I invited her to our National Day Reception and encouraged her to continue to follow, support and work for China-India friendship. Second is the story of ordinary volunteers of friendship. I was told that China Central Radio has a loyal listener in West Bengal, who has been tuning in to its Hindi and Bengal programs for 30 years since 1985. He also organized a community club to promote China-India friendship and introduce China's development, which now has more than 60 members. I also learnt that a mother in Mumbai hired a Chinese language tutor for her 19-month old baby, saying that the language of the fast growing country is the best gift for her daughter. There are many such people in our societies, we may not know their names, but what they are doing every day is the best footprint of amity between people and constitutes the most solid foundation and reliable driving force for our relations. I am optimistic, because the growth of China-India relations is not only the call of the times, but also the aspiration of the people.

In the past one and half years, I walked many streets and countryside across India. I've been to 15 states, and everywhere I go, I am overwhelmed by the hospitality and friendship of the Indian people. Nineteen months is not long, but I realize no matter how long I'm here, it's always difficult to say goodbye. Here I would like to assure you, wherever I go, my commitment to China-India relations will remain unchanged. The way of China-India relations is still long but promising.


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