Acknowledging that there was enough space in the world for China and India to grow, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today said the two countries should seize opportunities to expand converging interests and backed New Delhi for greater role in international affairs. “As a fast growing big country with over a billion people, India should and can play an increasingly important role in international affairs,” he said addressing the Indian Council of World Affairs.
However, Wen stopped short of extending full support for India’s bid for permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.
“China and India have shared interests and common views on the issue of UN Security Council reform. We both maintain that priority should be given to increasing the representation of developing countries,” he said.
Terming the boundary dispute between the two countries as an “historical legacy”, Wen said, “It would not be easy to completely resolve this question.
“It requires patience and will take a fairly long period of time. Only with sincerity, mutual trust and perseverance can we eventually find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution,” he said. Wen noted that the two countries have had good dialogue and communication and expressed a sincere desire to work together to resolve the boundary question. “In the face of difficulty, the most important thing to do is to press ahead along the right track, narrow differences step by step, build consensus and increase confidence,” he said. Wen said he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had agreed to set up a working mechanism for consultation and coordination on border affairs “which would help enhance our mutual trust and maintain peace and tranquility in the region”.
On the economic front, Wen said the China understood India’s concerns on bilateral trade imbalance and was ready to take measures to facilitate access of Indian IT products, pharmaceuticals and farm produce to the Chinese market.
China and India should work together to to achieve a $ 100 billion two-way trade target by 2015, he said, adding that agreements worth $ 16 billion were inked during his visit. Wen announced that China would provide one million dollars for the reconstruction of Nalanda University, the ancient seat of learning in Bihar which was a favourite of visiting Chinese scholars. The two countries declared that next year would be the Year of China-India exchange which would see 500 Indian youths visiting the communist nation.