The two ancient civilizations of India and China, both of them a billion-strong, are largely oblivious to economic and social changes happening in their neighbouring country, say visiting Chinese students.
"We do not know much about the Indian history so we could not relate much to Jaipur and Agra, but Mumbai impressed us a lot. It is very modern. It is truly a world class city," said Shao Guo, deputy secretary-general of Guangdong Youth Federation, after the 100-member delegation from the Communist giant visited several parts of the country.
It was Guo's first visit to the country and he said it was too short a time to explore a country like India. "But the bits and pieces that I have gathered from my short visit have convinced me that India has a great culture, and it offers a variety of experiences," he added.
About their impressions before visiting the country, a young student said, "I knew just that India was all about religion and mystics but I was amazed by the economic development."
The delegation members said they were impressed with the hospitality of the Indian people. The group also expressed a desire to know more about the religious and cultural heritage of the country.
The trip was part of the youth exchange programme agreed by the leaders of both countries during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India in November 2006, with an aim to cementing understanding and friendly exchanges between young people and carry forward Sino-Indo friendship in future.
"This is a very important platform to allow the youths of the two countries to exchange views and ideas and build a friendship to work together for future," Zhang Yan, Chinese Ambassador for India said.
"It is very wise and pragmatic decision made by the leaders and the programme is getting better and better each year. We should continue with such programmes as the students from both sides gain a lot which will greatly help improve ties in the future," he added.
The students were especially impressed by the Indian education system.
"The education system is very great in India. I have heard a lot about the business schools of India. The primary education is almost free here which is not the case in China. It has a solid education system in place which is important for the future of any country," another member from the delegation said.
"Everywhere people received us with great warmth and made us comfortable," said another young graduate from China.
The delegation was on a 10-day visit to India at the invitation of the Indian government. led by Wang Hongyan, vice president of the All-China Youth Federation. The delegation consisted of public servants, entrepreneurs, local government officials, artists, reporters and university students.