A Handshake Reached across Southern Silk Road
--In Joint Efforts to Create a New Chapter of Exchange and Cooperation between Sichuan and India
2011/04/24

By Jiang Jufeng, Governor of Sichuan Provincial People's Government, China

Dear friends from all walks of life in India,

Situated in the western part of China, Sichuan is one of the country's most populous provinces boasting an abundance of natural resources as well as a fast-growing economy. It is also the largest economic entity at the immediate vicinity of India. Reaching out for a handshake across the Southern Silk Road, we have confidence that this profound effort is bound to enhance the mutual understanding, strengthen the friendship and yield a positive and far-reaching impact on the promotion of cooperation at a magnitude of levels between Sichuan and India.

Enjoying a time-honored history of exchanges since ancient times, India and Sichuan first saw commercial contacts as early as back in Western Han Dynasty when silk produced in Sichuan, among other things, were warmly received among users in India, crowning Sichuan as the starting point of the Southern Silk Road which is universally known as the significant trade route linking ancient China with its counterparts in South Asia; the fact that Master Xuan Zang, the greatest messenger in the history of Sino-Indian communications, once took residence in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, is also a historic testimony of mutual exchanges as well as events of amenities that have been told and retold for generations after generations. Sichuan also takes pride in its geo-cultural privileges that have crowned the area with two unparalleled religious blessings: Mt. E'mei, one of the four famous Buddhist Mountains in China, and Giant Stone Buddha at Leshan Mountain, the world's largest stone inscriptions, both being spiritual similarities that Sichuan and India share. India, on the other hand, has always been playing an active role in the close economic and trade cooperation with Sichuan, emerging as the 6th largest trade partner and the 5th export market of Sichuan. Meanwhile, Sichuan-made mechanic and electrical products, agricultural produces, chemical products and silk have been enjoying a vast potential market in India. Cooperation of IT industries of the two parties has already yielded fruits, painting a picture of great prospects. In 2010 the trade volume between Sichuan and India even reached a high of 1.2 billion US dollars.

We will never forget the help and support that Indian government and people generously and unselfishly offered to us in the early summer of 2008 when the massive Wenchuan earthquake wreaked havoc on Sichuan. The help came at a most critical and much needed time to help quake-stricken people with the fight against the disaster and their effort to rebuild their homeland. But the gratifying fact today is that the once quake-ridden Sichuan has put on a new look as the post-disaster reconstruction has basically finished and development is being promoted. Take a walk around the used-to-be quake-stricken areas and you will be greeted with a view of prettiest houses for citizens, safest school buildings for kids and most modern hospitals for medical treatment seekers, with 100% satisfaction guaranteed. On behalf of Sichuan Provincial People's Government and its 90 million citizens and especially those from quake-stricken areas, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to Indian government and people for the unselfish assistance and deep concern shown to us.

This year is hailed as "Year of China-India Exchange" and now we are here to bring along a vista of charming combinations: the traditional cultures and customs of Sichuan, local dancing and singing with unique features, photograph exhibitions, a great variety of gourmet meals celebrated locally, and most importantly, countless opportunities of future economic and trade cooperation between India and Sichuan. We rose up after the disaster, beautifully with pride and promises. We'd like to extend a warm welcome to friends from all walks of life in India to explore business potentials or travel for pleasures in Sichuan, creating a new chapter of pragmatic and win-win cooperation.

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