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Wen Jiabao Addresses Delhi Institute of Technology
2005-04-12

On April 12, 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council delivered a speech entitled Join Hands to Create a Better Future at Delhi Institute of Technology, one of the most well-known universities in India. Around 1000 students listened to the speech. Wen Jiabao first reviewed the history of China-India friendship. He said as two ancient civilizations both China and India have created glorious cultures which have enlightened the mankind. During his visit to China in early 1920s, Indian poet and philosopher Tagore who enjoyed a global reputation said: "Friends, when I am in China, I feel like returning to my home somehow. I always think India is a very close relative of China. China and India are old but intimate brothers. " Why did the poet feel such a strong sense of affirmation when he was in China? Fundamentally speaking, it was because China and India have been two close neighbors who have exerted substantial influence to each other over a long period of time. Frequent exchanges between the Indian culture and the Chinese culture have enriched both cultures. The story of Monk Xuan Zang traveling to India for Buddhist scriptures in the 7th century was widely spread in China today through the literature classic The Journey to the West. The Chinese who have visited India are all fascinated about the great civilization along the Ganges and Indus River valleys. Premier Wen said China and India have become the fastest growing developing economies in the 21st century. To understand and handle China-India relations is not only vital to both countries, but also significant to the peace and development of Asia and the whole world at large.

Wen Jiabao said China and India have reached consensus on building peace and prosperity oriented strategic partnership. He believes the importance of building such a strategic partnership is mainly demonstrated in the following four aspects. First, it is completely compliant with the interests of both countries to enhance political mutual trust and friendly cooperation. As the largest developing nations, China and India need to lead one third of world population into modernization. This is an unprecedented undertaking and requires us to solve a variety of difficulties that have never appeared in the human history. In the process of promoting industrialization and urbanization, we have to concentrate our efforts to manage our own business well first of all, whether in alleviating pressure from population, resources and environment or addressing social employment, rural-urban dichotomy and wealth divide. Despite the different paths of development, China and India need to learn from each other on the basis of equality more than ever as many of the problems faced by the two countries are quite similar.

Second, we need to give full play the complementary nature of the two economies to expand economic cooperation and promote common development. With the trade volume surging from 3.6 billion US dollars in 2001 to 13.6 billion US dollars in 2004, bilateral economic and trade cooperation has been boosted in recent years. However, the scale of bilateral trade and investment remains disproportionate to the overall size of the two economies. We need to make joint efforts to uplift the economic cooperation between the two countries to a new level. Meanwhile, we should tap potential and explore new areas of cooperation. Someone describes the two fast growing neighbors as rivals, which is not true. Renowned Indian economist and Nobel Prize winner for economics Professor Amartya Sen believed we should not look on the economic development of China and India purely from the perspective of competition. He said:" Each country has its own characteristics and both sides need to learn from each other. To look on China and India simply from the perspective of competition is to consider global communication and understanding as a horse racing, which is not true. " He also noted:" The question people should ask is what China and India can learn from each other rather that who will surpass whom. " I cannot agree with Professor Amaryati Sen more. China and India are friendly neighbors and partners instead of rivals or enemies.

Third, we need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in international and regional affairs so as to safeguard the legitimate rights of developing nations. In 1954, the two great statesmen Zhou Enlai and Nehru advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence on behalf of their own government, thus making indelible contributions to safeguarding Asian and world peace. In today's world, peace and development are the common wishes of the vast number of developing nations. However, the unfair and irrational international political and economic order has hindered the protection of the legitimate rights and development opportunities of developing nations. To change the situation, developing nations should enhance solidarity and cooperation. There should be no shirking the responsibility for China and India. Both countries need to enhance communication to coordinate positions on important international and regional affairs so as to promote the establishment of a fair and rational international political and economic order. China understands and supports India's wish to play a bigger role in international affairs, including the UN affairs.

Fourth, we should carry on the good cultural tradition of both countries of pursuing peace so as to facilitate peace and development of the mankind. Our forefathers were all peace loving and promoting people. The idea of "peace being priceless" and "no imposing what you don't like to others" initiated by Confucius, the notion of "a world of great harmony" proposed by Mr. Sun Yat-sen, the great pioneer of democratic revolution in China, as well as the independent foreign policy of peace pursued by the People's Republic of China since its founding have all reflected the cultural tradition. Similarly, the idea of "great harmony between the God and the people" created by Indian sages, the principle of "non-violence" advocated by Mahatma Gandhi and the non-alignment policy upheld by India after its independence have all reflected the tradition as well. Today's world is far from peaceful. Power politics still exists and terrorism prevails. The proliferation of weapons, the overflow of drugs, transnational crimes, degrading environment and in particular, the rampantly spreading HIV/AIDS are posing severe threats to human beings. In this international context, it is particularly significant for China and India to inherit and carry on the good traditions of the oriental culture because friendly relations, a harmonious society and a peaceful environment are important assurances for people's livelihood and national prosperity.

Wen Jiabao said all in all to build China-India peace and prosperity oriented strategic partnership we have to adopt a more rational and pragmatic attitude, enhance trust for each other, intensify communication and prioritize the solution of practical questions. Wen said the Chinese leadership of several generations since the founding of the People's Republic of China has given top priority and been committed to developing China-India friendly cooperation. His visit was also aimed at enhancing friendship and expanding cooperation. The governments of China and India have officially signed the statement on the peace and prosperity oriented strategic partnership and launched the strategic dialogue mechanism. We have also reached agreement on the guideline for the solution of border issues, laying a good foundation for the ultimate resolution of border issues. We have jointly worked out the five-year plan for comprehensive economic and trade cooperation, identifying the objective of enabling bilateral trade volume to surpass 20 billion US dollars in 2008. We have also decided to expand bilateral cultural and civil exchanges, including the grand celebrations of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India and the convention of the "China-India Cultural Month". In addition, we have signed more than 10 cooperative agreements in such areas as finance, customs, quarantine, water conservancy and education. All these are important steps to improve and develop bilateral relations. Wen Jiabao noted Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect for China's reform and opening up, said the issue of development should be considered from the perspective of the whole mankind and only when both China and India are developed can we have a Century of Asia in the real sense. China would like to see a peaceful and prosperous India. Similarly, a peaceful and prosperous China is also in the interest of India.

Wen Jiabao also talked about China's social and economic development. He stressed fundamentally China's development and progress can be attributed to the fact that the Chinese people have found out a development path that suits China's reality and complies with the trend of the times, namely, the socialist path with Chinese characteristics. We pursue reform internally and opening up externally. We take advantage of world peace to develop ourselves and at the same time we try to safeguard and promote world peace through our own development. Practice shows to stick to the path of peaceful development we can solve various problems arising in the process of development. Although the road ahead is not going to be smooth, we are determined to continue to go along the path with full confidence.

Wen said the youths are a nation's future and hope. The exchanges between the youths of China and India enjoy a long history. In the 1940s when the Chinese people were having the hardest time fighting against Fascism, Doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis, an Indian young man. traveled all the way to China to devote himself to healing the injured and saving the dying. He stayed with the Chinese people until his death. Madam Soong Chingling, a sincere friend of the Indian people, commented in memory of Doctor Kotnis: "He strived for the future when he was alive and the future would crown him with greater honor." In the new historical moment of China-India friendly cooperation, Wen hoped that the youths of China and India can stand at the forefront of the times, hand in hand, shoulder by shoulder, to create a better 21st century.

Following the speech, Wen Jiabao took questions from the students on exchanges between the Chinese and Indian students. Premier Wen's wonderful speech and answers won long-time applauses.

Indian Minister of Human Resources Development Arjun Singh said before Premier Wen delivered the speech that India and China enjoy tremendous potential of development in a number of areas and the two countries need to make full use of the potential to learn from each other so as to achieve common development and make the 21st century a Century of Asia.

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