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Remarks by Consul General Wang Xuefeng at the Opening Ceremony of China and India International Conference
2014/11/04

Dear Mr. Arindam Banik, Director of International Management Institute Kolkata,

Dear Professor Xiang Baoyun, Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

It is my great pleasure to come here to attend this conference called "China, India and Beyond: Understanding Cooperation, Competition and Development" at International Management Institute . First of all, on behalf of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Kolkata, I would like to extend my congratulations to the opening of the conference. I would also like to express my warm welcome to the eminent scholars and experts from Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences ( SASS) who have come all the way from China.

With regard to today's topic, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts focusing on the two key words: Cooperation and Development.

Let me start with a very popular food in people's life here in Kolkata--- Sugar. Soon after I came to Kolkata in late December last year, I got to know that people here refer to Sugar as "Chinni" in Hindi and "Chinni" is also the name of my country--China. I became curious. Is it just a coincidence, or is there any connection between the two words? I did some research on this and found a book called "The History of Sugar"written by Mr. Ji Xianlin, a great Chinese scholar. In his book , he recorded the history of refining sugar from sugar canes under the joint efforts of both the Indian people and Chinese people. In fact, it is the Indian people who invented the way to extract sugar from sugar canes. They first squeezed the juice from sugar canes and then dried it in the sun until it became syrup. They boiled the syrup into brown sugar chunks which is called "Sakara" in Sanscrit which means "rock". In the Han Dynasty of over two thousand years ago, this Indian method was introduced through the famous "Silk Road" to Yang Zhou, a very prosperous city in history in east China where the brown-colored sugar chunks were refined into white fine sugar grains. And this improved method of producing refined white sugar grains was introduced back to India and became very popular with Indian people. They started to call this kind of refined sugar "Chinni" because it came from this wonderful neighboring country "Chinni". This is a remarkable example of the friendly exchange and cooperation between the people of China and India who made great contribution to the world.

Now let's move back to the present from history. One month back, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to India. It is a landmark visit of historic significance which conveys very clear message to the world. That is, to strengthen cooperation and to construct closer development partnership between China and India. The leaders of the two countries conducted candid, friendly and in-depth discussions and reached important consensus. Both leaders point out, I quote, "China and India speak with one voice, the whole world will lend ears; China and India join hands, the whole world will behold", "China and India are two bodies, one spirit". The relationship between China and India goes beyond bilateral relations and is of significant influence both regionally and globally. Once the Chinese dragon and Indian elephant join hands, it will benefit not only our two countries but also Asia and the rest of the world.

The state visit by President Xi has yielded fruitful results. The two sides signed around 20 cooperation documents. The Chinese side will invest $ 20 billion in India in next 5 years, build two industrial parks, help India to upgrade relevant railways and stations, give more market access to Indian products, accelerate the construction of BCIM economic corridor, strengthen further cooperation in various fields such as people to people exchange, culture, education, tourism, religion, media, TV and broadcasting, bonding of cities and provinces. China has decided to open a new pilgrim path passing through the Netula Pass, to facilitate journeys for Indian pilgrims to the sacred mountains and lakes in China's Tibet. The two countries have decided to have "India Tourism Year" in China in 2015 and "China Tourism Year" in India in 2016.

Mahatma Gandhi once observed that China and India are fellow travelers sharing weal and woe in a common journey. As the the two most populous developing countries in the world, China and India are faced with the immense task of developing the economy, improving people's living standard, and rejuvenating the nation. Development is the major strategic common objective of the two countries. We share the same priority in providing people with better and happier life. The development of the country requires the stable international environment. The common task of development makes us aware that friendly cooperation is the only way to realized our dreams of development. China and India are supposed to be partners instead of rivals.

At present, under the guidance of the state leaders of the two countries, the relationship between China and India are on the fast track of healthy development. Great achievements have been made in the pragmatic cooperation in various fields. China has become the largest trade partner for India and the volume of bilateral trade has increased from 3 billion US dollars at the beginning of this century to 70 billion US Dollars now. In 2013, there are near 7 lakh Indian people going to China , an increase of 11% of year 2012; there are 1.5 lakh Chinese people coming to India, an increase of 6% of 2012. With China as the world factory and India as the world office, there remains great potential and bright prospect in the cooperation between our two countries.

The friendly relations between countries lie in the close contact of the people. The important and fundamental work in developing the friendly cooperation in various fields is to expand the people-to-people exchange and to strengthen the understanding and friendship of the people between the two countries.

Understanding leads to trust; trust strengthens friendship; friendship facilitates cooperation. Early this year, the marvelous performance by Chinese young acrobats in the Science City of Kolkata made great impression on the mind of the audience and even nowadays many of my Indian friends mention to me with this fond memory and hope to have one more chance to experience the traditional Chinese culture. Several weeks ago, I and my colleagues in the Consulate also had the unforgettable experience of sharing the joy with the people in the Durga Puja season. We are amazed by the magnificent pandals of various styles and the vivid statues of Goddess which demonstrate the outstanding imagination and innovation of the Indian people. When I stood by the riverside and watched the rejoicing crowds with wild excitement immerse the goddess in the Hooghly River on the last evening of Durga Puja, I was so overwhelmed by their passion and joy that I seemed to be part of them. My heart was filled with the respect and appreciation for the Indian tradition and culture.

The histories of the two countries are as long as the Yangtse River and the Ganges; the cultures of the two countries are as profound as Himalayas. The great civilizations of the two countries attract the two peoples. Friendship and cooperation are the the main theme in the hearts of the two peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen, as Prime Minister Modi remarks "from inch to mile" and as President Xi Jinping remarks "A thousand miles start from small steps', let us work hard with concerted efforts toward our goal of constructing closer development partnership between China and India.

Thank you!

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