New Delhi: Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday favoured closer ties with China based on "cooperation" and felt there should be major intellectual investment in understanding the neighbour in all its facets.
Observing that there is only a small community of "Sino-realists" in the country who firmly believe India has to keep itself engaged with the neighbour because of geographical exigencies, he hoped this section expands in its course in the coming times.
"Sino-realists need to take a front stage and have their voice heard -- that this a relationship of cooperation, of competition but this does not necessarily have to be a relationship of confrontation. That`s a nuanced position one has to take," he told at a book release function here.
`Across the Himalayan Gap: A Chinese Quest for Understanding India` is edited by Tan Chung, Zhang Minqui and Ravni Thakur, introducing to the Indian public the work of Chinese intellectuals on India.
Hailing the work of the authors, Ramesh said it was vital for India to learn to live with China which would be world`s largest economy in 10-15 years of time.
"I think the consequence of that is the major investment, intellectual investment of understanding China in all its different facets in academic circles, in think tanks, in universityes."
Ramesh was critical of an increasing tribe of "Sino- paranoids" in India who can`t see anything right with China fearing that it would gobble up India.
He said there has to be a critical mass of Indian scholars who can tell us on the strength of their own analysis and own work what Chinese thinking is on India on various issues.
In this context, he said that the interest among Chinese is more than the interest for China among Indians.
"There are more Chinese scholars studying in India than Indian scholars studying in China. There are more Chinese journalist in India than Indian journalists in China," he said.