China’s development no threat to India, Chinese leader says (Lead)

November 1st, 2010 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Taking note of “controversial issues” in bilateral ties, a senior member of the Communist Party of China Monday urged India to handle the relationship from “a strategic height” and underlined that Beijing’s development was an opportunity and not a threat to New Delhi.

“China’s development is an opportunity rather than a threat to India. Likewise, India’s development is not a threat but an opportunity for China,” Communist Party politburo member Zhou Yongkang said here. He was addressing a seminar on Sino-India relations, organised jointly by the Communist Party of China and India’s ruling Congress party.

Tacitly acknowledging some recent irritants in bilateral relations, Zhou stressed that these issues could be resolved through “mutual understanding and accommodation”.

“For controversial issues and disagreements in exchanges, we should deal with them properly on the basis of mutual respect, consultation on an equal basis and the principle of mutual understanding and accommodation, so as not to let improper handling of specific issues affect the overall relations.

“In light of such a situation, it is all more necessary for China and India to handle our relationship from a strategic height and long-term perspective,” he said.

Zhou began his three-day visit to India Sunday — kicking off a string of high-level official interactions, including the boundary talks between special representatives later this month and the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India in December.

Zhou, the ninth ranking member of the CPC’s politburo and a security hawk, will meet leaders across the political spectrum including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari.

The visit comes amid differences between the two countries on a host of issues, including the Chinese practice of issuing stapled visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Beijing’s increased infrastructure investment in Pakistani Kashmir in areas ranging from power to highways.

The Chinese leader, however, stressed on greater cooperation cutting across diverse areas.

“At the new historical starting point, let us push for the further development of the strategic, cooperative partnership between us and jointly create a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.”

India and China, the Chinese leader said, need to promote mutual political trust.

“We should maintain high-level visits and exchanges, strengthen communication and cooperation of our governments, parties, parliaments and militaries and promote cooperation in defence and security,” he said.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said at the seminar that the relationship between India and China was grossly under-realised and that both countries face similar challenges, including issues relating to food and energy security, inclusive growth and skill development.

Krishna also expressed the hope that China would provide a level playing field to India in pharmaceuticals and IT sector.

“Are we making best of opportunities? Can we not be more sensitive to each other’s concerns,” Krishna said, adding that the hotline between the two prime ministers will be operational soon.

“The trade between the two countries will touch the target of $60 billion. The economic engagement needs to go beyond trade,” he said. Bilateral trade crossed $30.37 billion in the first half of this year.

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