Beijing: Congress President Sonia Gandhi
says India-China relationship has the potential to become the
"one of the foremost and most substantive" relationships of
the 21st century, observing that it must be a key instrument
in shaping the changing world order.
There may be some issues on which both sides have
differences of approach and that`s natural given the size and
complexity of the two countries, Gandhi said.
"The leaderships of both India and China are engaged
in deepening political understanding which fosters respect for
each others` sensitivities," she said in a written interview
to China`s official Xinhua news agency, coinciding with the
90th anniversary celebrations of the ruling communist party.
"Such a dialogue should address all vital issues of
mutual concern through visits, seminars and a productive
exchange of ideas, skills and experiences," Gandhi said.
Currently, India and China are engaged in building a
strategic and cooperative partnership and it is significant
that China has already emerged as India`s largest trading
partner, she said.
"The future beckons us to build what has the potential
to become one of the foremost and most substantive
relationships of the 21st century and one that is of lasting
benefit for the people of both our countries," Gandhi said.
Asia, which embraces India and China, is set to play
an increasingly important role in world affairs and the
India-China relationship must be a key instrument in shaping
the changing world order, she said.
Gandhi also called for stepping up exchanges among
younger leadership of Congress and Communist Party of China to
enhance mutual understanding.
Those areas could include infrastructure building,
inclusive growth, employment generation and environment
protection, among other things, Gandhi said.
Recalling her visits to China in 2007 and 2008 as
Congress President, she said the Indian National Congress, and
CPC signed a MoU in 2008. One of the key components of MoU was
a shared commitment to strengthen exchanges amongst the
younger leadership in the two parties.
More visits and exchanges, particularly among the
youth wings of the two parties and between students of the two
countries, are extremely important, she said.
"That`s to ensure that the generation of young leaders
in China and India know and understand each other well, she
said, thus deepening the relationship between the two parties,
the two peoples and the two countries," she said.
The INC and CPC have engaged in useful dialogue and
exchanges over the years, she said.
India and China have pursued different paradigms of
development as they have different political systems, natural
resources and endowments, Gandhi said.
Both countries have scored many achievements since
independence and liberation respectively, but they also face
challenges to greater development and prosperity, she said.
Both countries have the potential to learn from each
other, she said.
She also recalled her 1988 visit to China with her
late husband, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. She described the
visit as a "historic one" that initiated a new chapter in the
relations between India and China and had a far-reaching
positive impact on bilateral interactions between the two
Noting that the Indian and Chinese governments have
played a central role in deepening the bilateral ties, Gandhi
stressed that she is confident that "our Party-to-Party ties
will foster greater mutual understanding between our
leadership and our two people, and thereby impart positive
momentum to the growth of multi-faceted relations between the
China and India last year celebrated the 60th
anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. This
year, activities of the China-India Year of Exchanges have
The 60th anniversary and the Year of Exchanges are
extremely important to build further mutual confidence and
better understanding, Gandhi said.
"At the party level, I believe that we should foster
greater cultural and social linkages, especially among the
youth, even as we promote trade, investment at the national
levels, and international cooperation on multilateral issues
of importance to both countries and on which we can adopt a
common approach," she said.