Amid deepening gloom and despair triggered by a rampaging pandemic, India and China, the world’s most populous countries, have held the torch of hope and cooperation aloft by quietly observing the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations with warm greetings and felicitations between their top leadership. The 70th anniversary is a defining milestone in the multi-faceted relations between the two Asian giants, but unfortunately the deadly coronavirus has cast a long shadow on the planned celebrations to mark this occasion.
In their felicitation messages, the leaders of India and China took a long view of their burgeoning partnership and focused on enhancing their cooperation to jointly combat the pandemic that has unleashed a dans macabre of death and devastation across the globe.
In his felicitation message to his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind, Chinese President Xi Jinping underlined that “China-India relations have now reached a new starting point with new opportunities to be grasped.” “A stronger China-India relationship will bring more benefits to our two countries and peoples and contribute more positive energy to Asia and the world at large,” said President Xi.
In his felicitation message to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the global character of the multi-faceted India-China partnership. “India and China are two ancient civilizations, with a long history of mutually beneficial exchanges over centuries. Today, we are two large developing countries and emerging economies who are increasingly playing an important role on the global landscape,” he said.
“As such, good relations between India and China are conducive not only for our respective countries, but are also important from the perspective of peace, stability and prosperity of our region and the world,” said Mr Modi.
Alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian leader stressed that “it was a reminder to us of the interconnected nature of our world today and the need therefore to adopt a truly global response to it.” Mr Modi stressed that he looked forward to working with the Chinese Premier to “further deepen and strengthen our Closer Developmental Partnership and take it to even greater heights in the years to come.”
Premier Li Keqiang underlined that “a relationship defined by friendship, cooperation and mutual benefit will serve the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples, and benefit Asia and the world at large.”
Looking ahead, India’s External Affairs Minister, in a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, assured that the two countries “should continue to work cooperatively in the coming months and, once we and the world are able to control the COVID-19 outbreak, celebrate this milestone in a manner duly reflective of its significance and the common aspirations of our two peoples.”
The two countries had planned a series of 70 events–35 in India and 35 in China–to celebrate the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations .
Similarly, the envoys of India and China struck an optimistic note of solidarity and cooperation amid the corona crisis. In New Delhi, China’s Ambassador to India Sun Weidong stressed that “China & India are partners sailing in the same boat and can win the battle against coronavirus with cooperation. “China and India are partners sailing in the same boat. Facing with outbreaks of COVID-19 pandemic around the world, China and India are standing side by side and helping with each other, which highlights the significance of building a community with a shared future for mankind,” he wrote in an article.
Going forward, as the world’s second and fifth largest economies and the most populous countries, China and India will have enormous responsibility in steering the world out of the corona-triggered recession. Over the last seven decades, India-China relations have diversified and expanded in scope, covering virtually all areas, including political-diplomatic, economic, defence and cultural.
In a new report, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said that “unlike most other world economies, India and China will be safe” from a coronavirus-induced recession.
While two-thirds of the world’s population in the developing countries face unprecedented economic damage, India and China are the likely exceptions, the report said, adding that trillions of dollars will be lost due to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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