Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that India and China should show sensitivity to each other’s interests and sovereignty and move quickly to resolve the boundary issue. Manmohan gave the call while addressing the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Party School in Beijing on the last day of his three-day visit. Chinese invitation to address the Central Party School is a rare honour bestowed on leaders from abroad.
Singh, outlining seven principles of engagement for closer cooperation between India and China, said “old theories of alliances and containment are no longer relevant”. “India and China cannot be contained and our recent history is testimony to this. Nor should we seek to contain others,” he said.
His address on ‘India, China - A New Era’ was received with a standing ovation by the future leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, who are under training at the party school.
Manmohan’s comments came a day after India and China signed pacts on border defence cooperation and trans-border rivers, all aimed at maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC and for mutual understanding for each other’s economic growth.
“It is essential for mutual confidence and for the expansion of our relations. We should do nothing to disturb that. Indeed, we can achieve it by adhering to our agreements and utilising our bilateral mechanisms effectively. At the same time, we should move quickly to resolve our boundary issue,” he said. The PM also spelt out a six-point roadmap of areas offering cooperation between the two countries and invited Chinese investment in Indian plans to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure in the next five years. Listing his seven principles, Singh said the two countries should increase consultations and cooperation on complex issues such as trans-border rivers and trade imbalance.
“We should maintain a high level of strategic communication and consultations, in a spirit of transparency, on our region and our periphery, eliminating misunderstanding between our two countries and building experience of positive cooperation,” Manmohan said.
“As the two largest countries in Asia, our strategic consultation and cooperation will enhance peace, stability and security in our region and beyond,” he said.
Manmohan also stated that the convergence between the two counties on a broad range of global issues should lead to enhanced policy coordination on regional and global affairs and cooperation in regional and multilateral forums in the political, economic and security domains.
“We should harness the full potential of cooperation in all aspects of our relationship, including in the economic area,” he said.
Expressing satisfaction over the nine agreements reached during his current visit, including the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), Singh said the deals would help to advance many of shared principles enunciated by him.
“As officials who will determine public policy, I hope you will do everything to advance our cooperation and promote India-China relations from your positions of responsibility,” he said, a comment well received among the large audience.
Reiterating that the world is large enough to accommodate the development aspirations of both the countries, Manmohans said during their meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping echoed this thought. Xi said that the Chinese and Indian dreams for becoming strong, developed and prosperous nations were inter-connected and mutually compatible.
“My meetings with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang give me great confidence that we can fulfill this vision. The world needs both countries to prosper together,” he said.
“We were not destined to be rivals, and we should show determination to become partners. Our future should be defined by cooperation and not confrontation. It will not be easy, but we must spare no effort,” he said. “What is at stake is the future of India and China; indeed, what may be at stake is the future of our region and the world,” he added.
Manmohan said, “We both know that the benefits of cooperation far outweigh any presumed gains from containment. Therefore, we should engage with each other in a spirit of equality and friendship and with the confidence that neither country is a threat to the other.” “Our strategic partnerships with other countries are defined by our economic interests, needs and aspirations. They are not directed against China or anyone else. We expect a similar approach from China,” he said.