Understanding sensitivities key to Sino-India friendship: Patil
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Last Updated: Friday, May 28, 2010, 18:02
Beijing: In a subtle but clear message, President Pratibha Patil told China on Friday that "mutual understanding of each other's sensitivities" held the key to "deeper and sturdier friendship" between the two Asian giants.

In her first public speech during her six-day State Visit, Patil spoke of the "time-tested" Sino-Indian friendship "forged in the crucibles of civilisation". She saw growing scope for cooperation between the two countries.

In her address warmly received by Chinese scholars who formed part of a substantial gathering, Patil expectedly made no mention of irritants such as Chinese incursions, Beijing's support to Pakistan and the issue of stapled visas to Kashmirs, and focused on the positives in bilateral ties.

Yet, Patil chose to underline, "Mutual awareness about each other and mutual understanding of each other's sensitivities, will hold key to deeper and sturdier friendship."

The Indian leader, who had said on her way here that "there is enough space in the world for both the countries to fulfil their aspirations for development," said at her speech at the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries that the two governments were working together towards strengthening mutual cooperation.

The President was speaking a day after her wide-ranging talks with her Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao during which she sought, and to some extent, obtained Beijing's backing for India's aspirations to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. She also pressed China to open up its market to Indian goods and services to address the adverse trade balance.

Patil summed up her discussions as "very positive and fruitful."

"There is keenness on the part of both the countries to move forward," she told agency.

The President, in her speech, said that her discussions with the Chinese leadership have emphasised the "noteworthy progress that cooperation has achieved in recent years and chartered the course for further progress."

She said that "in the age of globalisation and seamless communication," the "vibrant and enterprising" people of the two countries had to be at the centre of bilateral ties.

Patil, the first Indian head of state to visit China in a decade, also described China's transformation as "amazing."

"Even in my short stay, I have been impressed by the amazing achievements of China on many fronts," she said.

"This only confirms the prevalent belief in India that much can be learnt from experiences of China, which is a similarly placed emerging economy, with similar aspirations," she said.

Patil also spoke about the possibility of greater India- China cooperation in the international arena.

"In the international arena too, our common interests and shared concerns prove the basis for working together," she said, adding that the two governments were working towards that objective.

Patil said her visit, which takes place as the two countries are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, brought back the memories of their "early solidarity and rewarding cooperation" as modern nations.


First Published: Friday, May 28, 2010, 18:02

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