Wuhan spirit: India & China focus on P2P, eye an Asian Century

Putting culture, communication and creativity at the heart of their burgeoning relationship, India and China are set to launch the pioneering People-to-People (P2P) mechanism, which will enable them to harness their civilizational connect to shape an Asian century amid the evolving global geopolitical landscape.

Capping months of intense diplomatic engagements and a record number of four high-profile meeting between the leaders of India and China, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi will hold the maiden meeting of the high-level P2P forum in New Delhi on December 21. The launch of P2P mechanism, which entails closer interaction between media, academia, think tanks and cultural figures of the two countries, mark the consummation of a key commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during their first informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Civilizational Connect

“As we trace back our civilizational bonds and take inspiration from the spirit of mutual learning kindled by our ancient scholars, our belief in the inherent intellectual connect between our two countries is only reinforced,” Mrs Swaraj said at the third India-China Think-Tanks Forum in New Delhi on December 20. The message from Mrs Swaraj was read by Mr Pranay Verma, joint secretary in charge of China and East Asia, in India’s external affairs ministry.

“As our relations are deepening and our regional and international role evolving, there are expectations from our two countries to lead Asia and usher in an ‘Asian Century,” she said.

The Think Tanks Forum, with the overarching theme of “Civilization Connect towards an Asian Century,” has been organised by two premier institutes of India and China, including the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The forum is part of the newly constituted India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges.

Closer Development Partnership

In a terse message, Mrs Swaraj underscored that the discussions at the two-day forum will provide “very important policy inputs to further deepen the Closer Developmental Partnership between our two countries.”

Setting a positive tone for 2019

In his message read out by China’s ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui, the Chinese foreign minister underlined that the think tank forum has helped in deepening mutual understanding and enhancing trust between the two countries. The Chinese envoy said that the India-China relations were on the right track after the Wuhan summit. On December 21, the two foreign ministers will jointly inaugurate the third India-China Media Forum and India-China Film Festival, which will showcase ongoing initiatives to promote cultural and intellectual changes between the two countries.

The talks between the two foreign ministers under the newly-constituted high-level P2P mechanism will chart a positive trajectory for India-China relations in 2019 and beyond. The P2P mechanism has repositioned people at the heart of the India-China relations, which tend to get bogged down in artificial constructs of rivalry and competition. This initiative will enlarge the arc of understanding between the two emerging Asian powers and make their relations a duet, not a duel, as Chinese President Xi Jinping has said memorably.

Ahead of his visit to India, Mr Wang Yi, in an article, stressed on enhancing “friendly exchanges and win-win cooperation between China and India.”

“China and India are each other’s important neighbours and the world’s two largest developing countries. Friendly exchanges and win-win cooperation between China and India will positively affect the evolution of a global landscape and human society. President Xi emphasised that the Chinese “dragon” and Indian “elephant” should join each other in a duet, not a duel,” he said.

“PM Modi responded that when India and China work together, 1+1 is not 2, but 11. China will continue to work with India to explore a path for two big neighbours to live side by side for win-win outcomes and contribute our due share to the progress and prosperity of Asia and the world.”



Author Profile

Manish Chand
Manish Chand
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.