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PM unveils his vision of the future of Sino-India ties
V S Chandrasekar in Beijing | January 15, 2008 08:46 IST
Last Updated: January 15, 2008 09:08 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Tuesday said the danger to development came from extremism of all types and favoured a collective fight against terrorism even as he unveiled his vision of the future of Sino-Indian ties that would focus on mutual prosperity rather than animosity.
In a veiled reference to events in Pakistan and perhaps forces at home, Dr Singh said the rise of non-state actors, often based on intolerance, and narrow conceptions of identity, was a threat to all civilised nations.
"Perhaps the greatest danger to our development comes from extremism of all types, whether in the garb of religion or on the pretext of righting historical wrongs," Dr Singh said in his speech to Chinese think-tank, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Beijing [Images].
"Recent developments in our neighbourhood have brought home to us again the imperative need to collectively fight terrorism and extremism in all forms. As large and diverse societies, we are all placed to demonstrate the benefits of moderation and peaceful co-existence," he said on the last day of his three-day visit.
In his speech, Dr Singh unveiled his vision of the future of Sino-Indian relations, saying India and China must cooperate in creating a world of positive externalities and mutual prosperity, rather than one based on balance of power calculations and animosity.
"This involves India and China working together closely to ensure a global order in which our simultaneous development will have a positive influence not only on our own economies but also on the rest of the world," he said a day after India and China agreed to cooperate in various sectors, including civil nuclear energy.
Dr Singh said the two countries were at an exciting point in history when the centre of gravity of the world economy was moving towards Asia.
Just as the world economy was largely about western nations in the 20th century, it could be largely about Asia in the 21st century. By the mid-21st century, Asia may well account for more than 50 per cent of trade, income, savings, investment and financial transactions of the world, he said.
Highlighting some key focus areas for the future of Sino-Indian relations, the prime minister said first the 'knowledge gap' between India and China needed to be bridged and there was need to make much more sustained effort to ensure proper awareness of each other.
"This not only applies to our culture and history but also to contemporary developments. We need to have more people-to-people contacts to remove misconceptions and prejudices. We need a broad-based comprehensive dialogue at the level of intelligentsia, media, non-governmental professionals and the worlds of culture and the arts."
Second, there was need to expand cooperation in a broad range of functional sectors including learning from each other's national developmental experiences, Dr Singh said.
"We would like to learn from China's success in the creation of physical infrastructure, strategies to provide productive employment outside the agriculture sector, and poverty alleviation. Other areas for potential cooperation are science and technology, public health, education, institution building, water resource management and disaster management," he said.
India's growing consumer market, skilled human resources, and software excellence together with China's own large market, its manufacturing prowess and cost competitiveness provide the platform for exponential growth in economic ties, he said.
China is already the second largest trading partner of India. On Monday, the two countries agreed to set a bilateral trade target of $60 billion by the year 2010.
He said Asia was today more integrated than ever before in terms of trade in goods and services and investment of capital and knowledge. In the East Asian Summit and other fora, the two countries were discussing several constructive ideas for an open inclusive economic architecture from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific.
"We look forward to working with China in this pursuit. I have spoken before of an Asian Economic Community and (I) am glad that progress is being made in that direction," he added.
In pursuing these initiatives, the prime minister said, "We will do it in the Asian way -- avoiding confrontation and building trust, confidence and consensus. It is only in an environment of peace that prosperity in Asia can be sustained. India and China have an important role to play in building peace, security and stability in the region."
At the global level, he said the two countries should be at the forefront of the emergence of a more democratic global order and of multilateral approaches to resolving global issues. Today's international institutions, like the UN Security Council, no longer reflect reality and must be democratised, he said.
"We have had useful experience of cooperating in the effort to bring about a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round of the WTO negotiations, placing the development dimension at its heart. This experience enables us to intensify our efforts to create a more open and equitable trading and financial architecture," the prime minister said.
Dr Singh said environment was humanity's common heritage and the rights of the people to a fair chance to improve their lot cannot be abandoned because of environmental damage caused by others who followed a path which has squandered the earth's resources.
"Burden sharing has to be fair and must take into account historical emissions. The recently-concluded Bali Conference provides a framework for future cooperation on this basis. India and China should continue to work together to strengthen international cooperation on this basis," he said.
He said another area that merited attention was food security. Global trends in food production and prices and changing patterns of consumption were going to put increasing pressure on the availability and prices of basic food items.