BEIJING (TIP): Outlining eight “pillars” for the future of India-China relations, President Pranab Mukherjee today underlined the need for comprehensively resolving challenges including the boundary question through “political acumen” and “civilisational wisdom”.
Delivering a lecture at the elite Peking University, Mukherjee noted that there is bipartisan commitment to strengthening partnership with China, and said political understanding between the two countries is vital for “closer developmental partnership”.
He said he was “confident that by placing these eight pillars at the foundation of a people-centric approach, we can sufficiently enhance and strengthen our cooperation to the mutual benefit of both our peoples”.
“One of the ways it could be done is through enhanced political communication. In India, we have a bipartisan commitment to strengthening our partnership with China. The frequent contacts between our respective leaders bear testimony to this.
“We have broadened the ‘common ground’ and learnt to manage our differences. There are challenges -including the boundary question – that still need to be addressed comprehensively,” he said while addressing the gathering on the topic
“India-China Relations: 8 steps to a people-centric partnership”.
India and China have differences over the 3,488 km-long border. While Beijing says that the boundary dispute is confined to 2,000 kms, mainly in Arunachal Pradesh in eastern sector which it claims as part of southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered the whole of the Line of Actual Control including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.
Making his first state visit to China as head of the state, Mukherjee said while it was natural for neighbours to have differences of views on certain issues from time to time, “I consider it a test of our political acumen when we are called upon to draw upon our civilisational wisdom and resolve these differences to the mutual satisfaction of both sides”.
“Both sides should work with the aim of ensuring that we do not burden our coming generations by leaving our unresolved problems to them. I am confident that by ensuring that these matters are not aggravated and by remaining sensitive to mutual concerns, we can minimise our differences and maximise our convergences,” he said.
As part of his eight principles, he stressed on the need to enhance contacts among the youth of the two countries through festivals and sports contacts, digital technology, intellectual and cultural exchanges and travels, especially the Kailash Mansarovar and Buddhist pilgrimage centres. Collaboration of civil societies on both sides and a common approach to global and developmental issues that facilitate strong cooperation in multilateral fora including the G20, BRICS, East Asian Summit, Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) and Shanghai Cooperation Forum (SCO) will enthuse people of the two countries to support and contribute to the achievement of the shared goals, Mukherjee said.