HnExpress Partha Roy, Kolkata ঃ
China and India are two largest countries in Asia. And in the world and home of nearly 35% of world population. Both contributed in each others civilisation development path & processes and grown steadily over centuries. However, in recent past, in just over last seven decades after establishment of modern nations relationship between China & India suffered from time to time.

In Calcutta Dialogue 2019 Mr. Zha Liyou Consul General of China said,” China and India two largest economies in the world and need to complement each other through mutual cooperation, particularly in infrastructure, information technology, education, health, urban development planning” etc.

The one day event organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC ) in partnership with the Centre for Eastern and Northeastern Regional Studies – Kolkata ( CENERS-K ) had deliberations on current state of affairs on India – China relationship and potential for future growth. The experts from various fields discussed about scope and opportunities in various facets of India – China relationship specifically, trade, investment, infrastructure development, climate change, education, tourism, and people to people contact.

Consul General Liyou quoted a former premier of China who had said China’s hardware and India’s software if could come together they can create best in the world. Consul General Liyou said, “Trade between two nations is mere US$ 95.64 billion. Though there has been a 13.2% rise over last year, it is meagre in terms of market capacity.” Consul General Zha Liyou made passionate plea for sister -cities partnership between cities in eastern states in India & cities in southern & southwestern states in China specifically emphasising on Kolkata -Kunming as both cities have historical linkages over several centuries.

Consul General further said , “The Two countries have a population of 2.7 billion and nearly 20% of the world’s GDP. The quantum of bilateral trade is inconsistent with this. I have been speaking to experts as well as people on the streets and there is great potential to improve trade and economic relations. We would like to work with you. Chinese provinces are keen to work with eastern states of India and create a new blueprint for regional cooperation.” Former Army Chief of India General Shankar Roy Choudhury said.” There is a difference between Delhi -centric thinking and what people in eastern and north eastern India say about Sino-Indian ties. I believe the most important is building on economic relationship. India’s trade with China is not as much as it should be and is even less in the eastern region. We, also, need a larger market for Indian finished goods in China .”

Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Subramaniam Swamy spoke on relations between India and China and their historical ties over thousands of years. Dr. Swamy said “May be we should stop going to the other extreme every time an event occurs. I may not like China’s relations with Pakistan but that is no reason to not develop ties. I feel neither should we patronise China without reason nor show hostility. India need not get into the problems the USA has with China. The strategy should be to develop economic cooperation.”Former Indian Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee called for pragmatic approach in dealing with India-China relationship, build mutual trust and enhancement of cooperation to facilitate trade ties.”

Deputy Consul General of People’s Republic of China Mr. Yu Xiong, CEO of ICBC Bank Mr. Zheng Bin, Dongfang Electric Pvt. Ltd. Director Mr. Zhang Chenli also participated & presented Chinese perspective in the day-long deliberation. Bilateral trade between China and India has increased in last three years steadily with trade deficit widening in favour of China. To minimise trade deficit in India’s favour, India needs to use its soft power. India needs to make concerted effort to attract high spending Chinese tourist in India and to make India preferred destination for Chinese tourist. Currently, very few Chinese tourists come to India.
Inflow of Chinese tourist not only will contribute to Indian economy but will build people to people interaction between India & China. Chinese entrepreneurs called for easy access to business and tourism visa to India for Chinese citizens. ACM Arup Raha said “Sino -India relation is for co- operation, competition not for confrontation.”

Photo caption : Zha Liyou.

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