The positive tone in bilateral ties in 2004 was best summed up by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his first meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh last month on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) countries in Vientiane, capital of Laos.
China-India relations are now in the best shape in history, Wen told Singh, stressing that bilateral ties have entered a new stage of comprehensive development and both sides do not view each other as a threat.
Peaceful coexistence conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. China's development will not pose any threat to India and India's growth will not constitute a threat to China either, Wen, who is scheduled to visit India in March 2005, said.
He also noted that the Special Representatives of India and China on the Boundary Issue have held four rounds of meetings with "fruitful positive" results.
Singh said India attached great importance to developing bilateral relations with China and expressed his hope to make joint efforts with China to fully tap potentials for cooperation and explore new approaches to and areas of mutually beneficial cooperation.
According to the Chinese side, Singh said the Indian government has a strong political will of resolving the boundary issue. He added that the boundary talks have made headway and New Delhi would like to see that the two sides can reach consensus on the principles of resolving the boundary issue as early as possible.
This year witnessed the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence (Panchsheel) by India and China.
On June 28, the Chinese government organised a major celebration rally at the Great Hall of the People which was attended by Wen.
Chinese President and the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC),
He also noted that over half a century, the five principles have withstood the test of history, won extensive recognition from the international community, and become a major set of norms governing state-to-state relations.
Sino-Indian defence ties also witnessed significant improvement in 2004. Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Cao Gangchuan had paid a successful visit to India in March during which the two sides decided to enhance military-to-military exchanges.
A 50-member team of Indian Army officials visited a small Chinese town near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh to attend China's national day on October 1. The visit was a reciprocal gesture as India had welcomed a Chinese military delegation at a border post to attend India's Independence Day celebrations on August 15.
Another major event in the bilateral military field was the first-ever joint expedition to scale a peak near Taklakot in Tibet.
Prior to that, China had allowed an Indian Navy team to scale Mount Everest from the Tibet side.
India-China trade ties have witnessed a qualitative change in recent years and bilateral trade last year touched USD 7.6 billion.
According to latest figures, in the first ten months of 2004, the two-way trade has touched a record USD 10.8 billion, up 82.5 per cent over the same period last year.
India's exports to China amounted to USD 6.27 billion during January-October period, up 90.9 per cent. India's imports from China for the same period reached USD 4.56 billion, up 72.2 per cent.
During this period, India enjoyed a trade surplus of USD 1.71 with China.
Commenting on the booming trade ties, Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Surie said that at the current rate, bilateral trade may well reach USD 12 billion for the full year.
India and China are also studying the feasibility of signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The Joint Study Group (JSG) constituted earlier this year held their third meeting here this month to draw up a programme for the development of India-China trade and economic cooperation for the next five years.