Advancing Hand in Hand for a Common Future
Premier Wen Jiaobao's Speech at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
2005/04/12

(Translation)

Mr. Minister,

Mr. Chairman,

Dear Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to meet so many teachers and students from Indian institutions of higher learning on the beautiful campus of IIT Delhi.

This is my second visit to your great nation. From Bangalore to Delhi, I have made extensive contact with members of the political, economic, scientific and educational communities of this country. I was deeply touched by the Indian people's aspiration, which can well match ours, for stronger friendship and cooperation between China and India. Compared with what I saw eleven years ago, India has indeed made a tremendous progress and taken on a new look. The Chinese people wish to express heartfelt congratulations to their great neighbor for its new achievements.

The topic of my presentation today is "Advancing Hand in Hand for a Common Future".

Both China and India are celebrated ancient civilizations whose brilliant cultures once illuminated the course of human progress. In the early 1920s, Rabindranath Tagore, the world-renowned poet-philosopher of India, traveled to China and was quoted as saying the following emotional words: "I do not know why coming to China seems to me like returning to my native soil. I always feel that India has been one of China's extremely close relatives, and China and India have been enjoying time-honored and affectionate brotherhood." Why then did the poet feel such a strong sense of identity in China? Because, historically, that China and India were two big neighbors that had the longest duration of mutual contact and made the deepest impact on each other. Culturally, the two countries conducted frequent exchanges, learning from each other and complementing each other. In the 7th century A.D., Huen Tsang, a Tang Dynasty monk, went on a pilgrimage to India for Buddhist scriptures. His story has been known to every Chinese household thanks to the classic novel entitled Journey to the West. Every Chinese who has been to India would feel deeply drawn to the profound charm of the Ganges and Indus River Valley civilization.

For a good part of modern history, the Chinese and Indian peoples extended to each other solidarity and support during the great struggles for independence and liberation. In the past half a century, our two countries have each made painstaking exploration for ways to move from poverty and backwardness to prosperity and progress, and both accomplished remarkable successes.

Entering the 21st century, China and India have emerged as the two big developing countries with the fastest economic growth. Correctly understanding China-India relations and keeping them on track is not only critically important to our two countries, but also bears significantly on peace and development in Asia and the world at large. I believe that both China and India need to view and develop bilateral relations from a strategic perspective, and endeavor in the following aspects:

First, enhancing mutual political trust, and stepping up mutual learning and emulation. To bring China and India, the two most populous developing countries with 1/3 of the world's population, into modernity is an unprecedented feat in human history. In the course of industrialization and urbanization, the sheer workload of easing pressures from population, resources and environment, or of solving of problems of inadequate employment, narrowing the gap between town and country, and addressing the widening divide between the rich and the poor; all requires that we concentrate ourselves on our domestic agendas. It also requires our two countries to establish a relationship of mutual respect, mutual trust, good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, so as to complement each other through partnership.

Second, expanding economic cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win result. China-India trade and economic relations developed rapidly in recent years. Two-way trade rose from US$3.6 billion in 2001 to US$13.6 billion in 2004. However, such a level of economic cooperation is not commensurate with the overall size of our economies, and there remains a huge potential for us to tap. India has many products, such as farm produce, mineral products, cotton yarns, pharmaceuticals and auto parts, which are highly competitive in the Chinese market. China-made household electric appliances, and telecom and electric products are popular items to Indian consumers. China's rapid economic growth will generate a big market demand for India's service industries. With respective advantages in computer hardware and software, China and India can substantially increase their international competitiveness in the IT sector if they combine their strong points. As long as we step up exchanges and cooperation, we will see greater and faster development in our trade and economic relations.

Some people describe China and India as competitors. I beg to disagree. Professor Amartya Sen, a famous Indian economist and Nobel Economics Laureate, once said, "Since each country has its own features, both sides have things to learn from each other. To view China and India only as rivals is no different from reducing the practice of global communication and understanding to a horserace. Besides, it is not the fact." He also said, "People should ask what China and India can learn from each other, not ask who will outdo whom". I cannot agree with the professor more. China and India are friendly neighbors and cooperation partners. They are not rivals, still less adversaries.

Third, strengthening bilateral cooperation in international and regional affairs and maintaining the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries. Back in 1954, two great statesmen, Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru, proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence on behalf of their respective governments, thus making an indelible contribution to peace in Asia and the world as a whole.

In today's world, peace and development are the common aspirations of the developing countries in their large numbers. However, the unjust and irrational political and economic order in the world continues to keep the legitimate rights and interests and development opportunities of the developing countries from protection and fulfillment they deserve. To reverse such a situation, it is necessary for the developing countries to close ranks and strengthen cooperation, something that China and India are duty-bound to participate. In addressing major international and regional affairs, China and India should enhance communication and coordination and work together to promote the establishment of a just and rational new international political and economic order. India hopes to play a bigger international role, in the UN affairs included, and here we wish to express our understanding and support.

Fourth, carrying forward the peace-loving tradition in both countries and promoting peace and development of humanity. Since ancient times, the forefathers of China and India have demonstrated their love and passionate pursuit of peace. In China, Confucius' teachings of "peace being most precious" and "do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you", the advocacy for "a world of great harmony" by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the great forerunner of democracy, and the independent foreign policy of peace pursued by New China, all give expression to this cultural tradition. In India, "the Divine One" advocated by ancient sages, Mahatma Gandhi's preach of non-violence and non-alliance policy India followed after independence, also reflect this cultural tradition. Given the rising prominence of the traditional and non-traditional security concerns in the present-day world, it will be of special importance if China and India could take the lead in living up to the fine traditions of oriental cultures, for concord in relations, harmonious society and peaceful environment underpin people's well-being and prosperity of all nations.

Dear Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to developing friendly relations with India. My current visit is precisely aimed at enhancing friendship and expanding cooperation between China and India. Yesterday, our two governments reached agreement to cultivate China-India ties from a strategic perspective, formulated the political guiding principles for the settlement of the boundary question, put forward a five-year plan for our trade and economic cooperation and identified a number of activities of cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The two sides also signed well over a dozen cooperation agreements in finance, banking, customs, quarantine, water conservancy, education and other areas. All this shows significant steps forward in the improvement and development of bilateral relations.

Dear Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China's reform and opening-up, once said that only when both China and India get developed can the Asia Century become reality. China hopes to see a peaceful and prosperous India. By the same token, a peaceful and prosperous China is also in India's interests.

Thanks to reform and opening-up in the past 20 years and more, China has basically put in place a socialist market economy, and the Chinese people have on the whole accomplished the historic leap from subsistence living to moderate prosperity. Despite all the progress, China's per capita GDP is only some US$1,200, ranking well below the 100th place in the world. China still has a very long way to go before it becomes a truly developed country.

China's success in development, in the final analysis, is attributed to the Chinese people's chosen path, which is suited to China's conditions and goes along with the trend of times. We have committed to reforms at home and opening to the outside world, taking advantage of a peaceful world to achieve our own development and further promoting world peace through our own development. Facts have proved that so long as we stick to this path of peaceful development, we will be able to solve all the problems in our development efforts. Though the way ahead may not be smooth sailing, we are full of confidence and will keep on marching forward.

Dear Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Youth is a nation's future and best hopes. Exchanges between the youth of two countries date back centuries with many moving chapters. Take the 1940s, when China's anti-fascism war was at its most difficult juncture, a young Indian medical doctor named Dwarkanath Kotnis arrived in China, threw himself into the Chinese people's cause of national salvation, and finally died trying to help the suffering Chinese. Just as Madam. Soong Ching Ling, a sincere friend of the Indian people, said: "When he was alive, he strived for the future; the future, therefore, would endow him with greater glory." At this moment when a new historic opportunity unfolds itself for greater China-India friendship and cooperation, I hope young people of the two countries could stand at the forefront of the times, working hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, for a better future in the 21st century!

Thank you all.

(Chinese Embassy in India)

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