Beijing: India and China should comprehensively resolve challenges including the boundary question through "political acumen" and "civilisational wisdom" so that the coming generations are not "burdened" by unresolved issues, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday.
Enunciating "8 steps to a partnership of the people" for India-China relations in his address to the Peking University, he 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".
"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 bears 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.
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.
The President said it was incumbent on India and China, as emerging powers, to remain equally focused on nurturing global prosperity.
"We both are at the threshold of an opportunity to join hands and create a resurgence, a positive energy, an "Asian Century". This will not be an easy task. We will need to overcome obstacles with resolve and fortitude. We must preserve to realise this dream. We can do this together. We can do it if we join hands in a durable friendship," he said.
During his four-day stay, the President will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and other top leaders.
Expressing happiness over the steadily diversifying bilateral relationship in every area of common interest, he said China is India's largest trading partner.
"Our developmental experiences are arguably most relevant for each other. Our respective achievements in infrastructure, mobility, energy, skills development, healthcare, education and urbanisation offer a fertile ground for exchange and cooperation. Our defence and security exchanges now include annual military exercises. There is greater Chinese investment in India and vice versa," he said.
Noting that the government was fully committed to this process and building a durable framework for the ties, Mukherjee said he firmly believed that India and China must enhance their bilateral relationship if both countries were to play a significant and constructive role in the 21st century.
"I am convinced that a qualitative transformation of our ties calls for placing people at its very centre. I, therefore, propose that our two sides should focus fostering a people-centric partnership to create a broad level of contact between our two countries," he said.
For building a people-centric partnership, the President said the two countries must have mutual trust predicated on mutual respect and a better appreciation of their respective political and social systems.
"This can be achieved by closer contacts at all levels. As you are aware, India chose to be a secular parliamentary democracy. Our system of participative governance is founded on the principles of tolerance, inclusiveness and consensus.
"Attempts to derail our peace through acts of terrorism have not shaken our faith. Our society is resilient and public interest is protected by a free media, an independent judiciary and a vibrant civil society," he said.