Visit of a Chinese Delegation
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Leading a five-member delegation of the ‘China Association for International Friendly Contact’ (CAIFC), Mr. Liu Hanwu, Director, Asian Affairs and Standing Counsel Member of the CAIFC, visited the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 08 Sep 2016 for an interaction that broadly hinged on potentials for improving ties between China and India, especially around cultural and historical legacies.

At the outset, Lt Gen RK Sawhney, former DGMI and Dean, Centre for Defence Studies, VIF, who chaired the session, stressed that the VIF attaches great deal of importance to the study of history and culture. He highlighted that the Indian ethos, borne out of a millenia old civilization, resonates widely in India’s approach to her foreign policy towards her neighbours. Making no bones about the bitter legacies of the past that have kept the two neighbours largely separated from each other, Gen Sawhney underlined that differences in perceptions, which have stalled the potentials for reaping bilateral dividends, could be substantially narrowed down if only people in respective countries knew each other well. He further highlighted that people to people relations and that among the think tanks and the media can play important roles in sustaining improved ties between the neighbours. Pointing out that with the leadership on both sides striving hard for it, Sino-India relationship is poised to touch new heights. The General stressed that initiatives which are being taken at the highest political level need to be supported by all.

In a reciprocal gesture, the head of the visiting Chinese delegation, Mr. Liu Hanwu, stressed that commonality of interests between China and India far outweigh their differences. Continuing further, opined that both the countries have a common stake in uplifting about two-thirds of the humanity from hunger and depravation. In a reference to India’s export of Buddhism to China, Mr. Liu acknowledged the former’s contribution in shaping China’s cultural lineage. Mr. Liu, however, talked about the damage being done to India-China relations by an over zealous media which often has the tendency to blow things out of proportions. Bilateral differences, he stressed, are tiny, while the bigger issue is the common interests. In an effort to strike a common chord, Mr. Liu stressed that ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in China’ can be made compatible. Possibly peeved over India’s growing proximity with the United States in recent times, Mr. Liu Hanwu, suggested that as mature nations both India and China are capable of sorting out their bilateral differences, and as such there is no place for outside interference in regional affairs, especially that between China and India.

During the interactive session, both sides felt the need to promote common understanding. There was consensus that bilateral relations have progressed despite the disconcert on many contentious issues, and that improvement in Sino-India relations was the need of the hour, especially as both countries have embarked on a road to development. A friendly and trustworthy partnership was not only mutually beneficial, but it would bring peace and prosperity to the entire region.

At the end, it was appreciated that it was imperative for think tanks to undertake reciprocal visits and create an atmosphere of goodwill about each other in their respective countries.

Event Date 
September 8, 2016
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