India-China to march as friends not rivals: PM
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 23:40
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said India and China will march together as friends and not as rivals in the 21st century, describing it as a century that belongs to Asia.

Addressing a high-profile gathering of people from India and China at the celebrations to mark 60 years of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two Asian giants, Singh also said there is enough space in the world for both India and China to grow and fulfil development aspirations of their respective people.

"In the development of this century, India and China will march together as friends, not as rivals," Singh said to thunderous appaluse from the 3,000-odd audience.

Expressing satisfaction over his talks with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao today, Singh also appreciated his "personal role" in advocating the need for strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries.

"This has laid the ground work for the future India- China relations," Singh said, adding that India-China cooperation will be the keystone of the "Asian century that is unfolding before us."

He said India and China have played a crucial role in increasing awareness about each other's cultures and civilisation. India and China are two great civilisations that have flourished for thousands of years.

He said both countries should work towards bridging the "information gap" between the two nations and learn about each other's achievement on their own rather than through third countries.

"Universally, it has been acknowledged that 21st century is Asian century," he said.

The two Prime Ministers also praised each other for their role in Sino-India ties with Wen calling for "heart-to-heart" exchanges between the two emerging economies.

While Singh called Wen "a very dear friend of mine", the Chinese Premier said his Indian counterpart was his "old friend."

Wen said: "Heart-to-heart exchanges between the two countries will help in further boosting the ties between China and India.

"The outcome of my visit has been successful. We can say that an Asian century has arrived," he said.

"We must close the information gap between the two countries and know about each country's development on our own rather than through third countries," Singh said.

Wen said in future the two countries should carry forward their work in the crucial stage of development and needed to press for a just and equitable international political and economic order.

The two countries should increase their cooperation in various fields and have made greater contributions to the building of a harmonious world of enduring peace.

He said the two countries have decided to observe 2011 as the year of exchanges and will hold exchanges in the field of media, culture and others on a larger scale.

The Chinese Premier said, "Hospitable Chinese people will receive you with open arms." He said the festivities organised by the two countries have achieved "full success" and wished all Indians a very happy new year.

Singh, on his part, hoped that the new year will bring joy and happiness to Chinese people and will serve as an ocassion for further advancement of friendly relations between India and China.


First Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 23:40

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