Xi quoted Tagore, Gandhi to spiritually connect with Indians

Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to spiritually connect with Indians by quoting poets like Rabindranath Tagore whose works are very popular in China, analysts have said.

PTI| Updated: Sep 19, 2014, 15:54 PM IST

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to spiritually connect with Indians by quoting poets like Rabindranath Tagore whose works are very popular in China, analysts have said.

Xi has quoted a wide range of prominent figures and idiomatic phrases from China and India to illustrate Beijing's diplomatic philosophy and its increased priorities in South Asia during his address at the Indian Council of World Affairs yesterday, state media reported.

Xi also quoted Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

"Grow like a summer flower, magnificently; die like an autumn leaf, quietly and beautifully!" Xi said, quoting Tagore, adding that he had read several poetry collections of the late Nobel Prize winner in literature.

To boost cultural exchanges with South Asian countries, China will provide 10,000 scholarships to the region, training to 5,000 people and help in cultivation of 5,000 Chinese- language teachers, Xi said.

"Spiritual resonance is something that goes way beyond the reach of politics and economy," said Sun Shihai, a researcher on Southern Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In the speech, Xi said all South Asian countries are "China's important cooperative partners", and he defined the cooperative agenda as "a huge treasure to be exploited".

Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said China has taken a "balanced approach" when designing its South Asian policies - presenting priorities placed in both the regional power of India as well as the other small and mid-size countries.

To illustrate Beijing's unchanged commitment to its peaceful development path, Xi quoted an ancient Chinese saying: "Do unto others as you would be done by."

Zhou Gang, former Chinese ambassador to India, said the Maritime Silk Road is a platform of great openness and many South Asian countries, including Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, have already been brought into the initiative.

Under the ambitious project, China plans to build a maze of roads for the revival of ancient Silk Road connecting China, Central Asia with Europe, Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor.