Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the Indian Council of World Affairs in New Delhi, India, Sept. 18, 2014. [Photo by Pang Xinglei/Xinhua]
Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
At the Indian Council of World Affairs
New Delhi, 18 September 2014
Your Excellency Vice President Hamid Ansari,
Your Excellency Ambassador Rajiv Kumar Bhatia,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Namaste. Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to meet with you here at the kind invitation of the Indian Council of World Affairs. Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the government and people of China and also in my own name, warm greetings and best wishes to the great people of India. I also wish to pay high tribute and express sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed to the friendship and cooperation between China and India over the years.
My previous visit to your country back in 1997 has left me with many fond memories. Now, after a lapse of 17 years, I am back on this vibrant land. I am impressed once again by the huge development achievements of the Indian people and their enterprising spirit. Indeed, as people often say, India's development today is incredible.
India is an amazing and colorful country. The Indian people have nurtured an ancient civilization that has lasted thousands of years. You traveled a long and tortuous journey to gain independence and strength. And now, you have embarked on a promising journey toward revitalization. Anyone who comes to India will find himself walking into a long corridor of rich history, as India enjoys a splendid past, an exhilarating present, and a spectacular future. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian people are more confident about your future, while the international community has greater expectations for India.
During this visit, Prime Minister Modi and I have had a comprehensive and in-depth exchange of views and reached broad consensus on bilateral ties and major issues of mutual interest. We are thinking very much along the same line on many issues. We have agreed to substantiate the strategic and cooperative partnership between our two countries and forge an even closer partnership for development.
Mr. Deng Xiaoping once said, a true Asian century only comes when China and India are both developed. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru also said, when India and China come together, it will be a big event for Asia and even the world. As the two largest countries in Asia, China and India have on our shoulders the historic responsibility and the mandate of the times to maintain peace and stability in Asia and achieve its prosperity and rejuvenation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Living side by side, the Chinese and the Indian people conducted exchanges and mutual learning in ancient times and went through hardship together in modern history. Now we are pursuing the same mission of national renewal. Mahatma Gandhi once observed that China and India are fellow travelers sharing weal and woe in a common journey. Prime Minister Modi has told me that China and India are two bodies with one spirit. These words reveal the kind and peace-loving nature shared by our two great civilizations and the intrinsic connection between them.
Documented interactions between China and India date back over 2,000 years. One highlight is Buddhist exchanges, as Buddhism was introduced eastward to China from its cradle in India. In 67 AD, Kasyapa Matanga and Dharmaraksa, the two eminent monks from India, arrived in Luoyang, China. There, they translated the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters, the first Chinese translation of Buddhist scriptures. We have stories of the white horse carrying Buddhist scriptures to China and Monk Xuanzang's pilgrimage to the west. They brought Indian culture as well as Buddhist scriptures to China. During his seven expeditions, the great Chinese navigator Zheng He visited India six times and brought with him the neighborly friendship from China. Indian dance, astronomy, calendar, literature, architecture and sugar-making techniques were introduced to China, while Chinese paper-making, silk, porcelain, tea and music were spread to India. All these bear witness to a long-running history of exchanges and mutual learning between our two peoples.
Since modern times, our two peoples have sympathized with and supported each other in our respective struggle for national independence and liberation. Together, we brought about an awakening in Asia. India lent its support to China's anti-opium campaign, while China rooted for India's independence movement. The Indian medical mission in China has left behind many touching stories during the Chinese people's war against Japanese aggression. Doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis, one outstanding representative of this medical team, was laid to rest in China. The Chinese people shall always cherish the memory of this man of great virtue.
The establishment of diplomatic ties in 1950 opened a new chapter in our bilateral relations. India was among the first group of countries to recognize new China and to call for the restoration of China's lawful seat in the United Nations. China and India, together with Myanmar, initiated Panchasheela, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, an innovation in international relations and a remarkable contribution of Oriental wisdom to modern civilization.
Since the turn of the century, China and India have forged a strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity, steering the bilateral ties onto a fast track of growth. In the past decade and more, two-way trade has increased by more than 20 times and mutual visits have almost tripled. Our exchanges and cooperation have seen an unprecedented expansion in breadth and depth. It is fair to say that our bilateral ties are now at a new starting point.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We live in an era when the international landscape is undergoing profound and unprecedented changes. One major trend is Asia's rising status in the global configuration. China and India, as two major players in the shaping of a multi-polar world and two vibrant forces driving Asian and global economic growth, have, once again, been brought to the forefront of the times. China-India relations have gone way beyond the bilateral scope and assumed broad regional and global significance. As such, when China and India join hands in cooperation, it will benefit not only the two countries but also the entire Asia and the world at large.
It is to this end that I suggest China and India become closer partners for development, cooperative partners for growth and global partners for strategic coordination.
First, China and India should become closer partners for development who will jointly pursue their respective national renewal. Development is the top strategic goal shared by the two countries. Nothing is more imperative than to deliver a more comfortable, more secure and happier life to our peoples. For that, we both need to focus on development, share experience and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, so as to achieve peaceful, cooperative and inclusive development for our two countries.
Known respectively as the "factory" and "office" of the world, China and India need to enhance cooperation to tap into our mutually complementary advantages. China's westward opening-up should be geared to dovetail with India's "look east" policy with a view to shaping the world's most competitive production bases, most attractive consumer markets and most powerful growth engines. The two countries also need to expand cooperation in investment, finance and other areas and pursue practical cooperation across the board.
Amity between the people holds the key to state-to-state relations. There are striking similarities between the Chinese Taichi and India's Yoga, and between the traditional Chinese medicine and India's Ayurveda. Profound resemblance can also be found in the philosophies that have guided the lives of the two peoples throughout millennia. During this visit of mine, the two sides formulated the China-India Cultural Exchange Program, with the purpose of reviving our ancient cultures and bringing back the heyday of exchanges and mutual learning between the Chinese and Indian civilizations. The two sides have agreed to expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation in youth, culture, education, tourism, religion, media, radio, television, film and other areas including exchanges at sub-national levels. The Chinese side has decided to open another route via Nathu La Pass for Indian pilgrims to pay homage to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar in Tibet, China.
I have had a keen interest in Indian civilization since childhood. The fascinating history of India had me deeply captivated when I read books about the Ganges civilization, Veda culture, Maurya Dynasty, Kushan Dynasty, Gupta Dynasty and Mughal Empire. In particular, I have read a lot about the colonial history of India when the Indian people fought arduously for national independence and when Mahatma Gandhi lived and conceived his ideas. By so doing, I was hoping to get insights into the evolution and character making of this great nation. I have read Tagore's poetry, such as Gitanjali, Stray Bird, Gardener and Crescent Moon, many lines of which remain fresh in my mind. He wrote, "If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars", "We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility", "Wrong cannot afford defeat but Right can", "We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us", "Let life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves", etc. Such beautiful and philosophical lines have inspired me deeply in my outlook on life.
Second, China and India should become cooperative partners for growth and jointly promote Asia's prosperity and revitalization. China and India should aim to become the express trains to bring along the rest of the region in common development. We need to foster a regional consensus on cooperation and work with relevant countries to step up economic integration and connectivity in the region, speed up the building of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and complete at an early date negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. We need to become the twin anchors of regional peace, commit ourselves to building an Asia-Pacific security and cooperation architecture that is open, transparent, equal-footed and inclusive, and achieve common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in the region.
Third, China and India should become global partners for strategic coordination and work for a more just and equitable international order. At present, peace, development and win-win cooperation are a growing trend of our times. On the other hand, inequality and unfairness still widely exist in international relations. Global challenges keep emerging, so do conflicts and local wars in various regions. To uphold world peace and promote common development remains a daunting task. In global affairs, China and India face similar challenges, share extensive common interests and shoulder important responsibilities.
China and India have a combined population of over 2.5 billion. If we speak with one voice, the whole world will listen; and if we join hands, the whole world will pay attention. China and India ought to enhance strategic coordination in global affairs, carry forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and uphold sovereign equality, justice and common security. We should commit ourselves to common development, win-win cooperation, inclusiveness and mutual learning and safeguard the shared interests of our two countries and the developing world.
Through our own development, we should make greater contribution to world economic growth and global governance and provide solutions that speak for the interests of developing countries on such global issues as climate change, food security, energy security and cyber security. China is ready to strengthen strategic coordination with India in multilateral mechanisms such as China-Russia-India trilateral meetings, the BRICS, the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. China supports India in its aspiration to play a bigger role in the United Nations, including in the Security Council.
This being said, neighbors may sometimes encounter problems. What is important is for China and India to face the boundary question and other issues left over from history and seek fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solutions at an early date through peaceful and friendly consultation. In the meantime, we must not focus our attention only on our differences and forget about our friendship and cooperation, still less should we allow the differences to stand in the way of our development and interfere with the overall growth of bilateral relations. I am confident that as two time-honored civilizations, China and India have the ability and wisdom to embark on a path of good-neighborliness between two major countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Many Indian friends take great interest in China's development and wish China even bigger progress. Thanks to its reform and opening-up program over the past 30 years and more, China has made remarkable achievements in economic and social development. Our people's life has kept improving and the world has benefited from China's development. That being said, we have also taken note of the claim by some that a stronger China is bound to follow the beaten path to seek hegemony and pose a so-called "threat" to other countries. Here, I wish to make it clear that China will be firmly committed to the path of peaceful development.
The Chinese nation has always been peace-loving. The pursuit of peace, amity and harmony is an integral part of the Chinese character. China has all along believed that "the strong should not oppress the weak and the rich should not bully the poor." Even in ancient times, China already came to the conclusion that "a warlike state, however big it may be, will eventually perish." "Peace is of paramount importance," "seeking harmony without uniformity," "replacing weapons of war with jade and silk" and "achieving universal peace," axioms like these have been passed down in China from generation to generation. Historically, China was for a long time a great power in the world, but what it brought to the world were the idea of peace and abundant products like silk, tea and porcelain. The Chinese concepts of "universal peace" and "universal love" and the Indian concepts of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakum" (the world being one family) and ahimsa (causing no injury) are very much alike. Both China and India consider harmony as the way toward a better future for the world and hope that all countries will live in harmony and peace.
The Chinese nation has always made learning a priority, as evidenced by famous Chinese sayings such as "Only by learning extensively and accumulating profound knowledge can one be ready to achieve something", "When walking in the company of two other men, there are bound to be things I can learn from them. I will absorb the good qualities and avoid the shortcomings" and "One needs to study what is good, constantly inquire about it, carefully reflect on it, clearly distinguish it and earnestly practice it." It is such a learning spirit featuring humility and inclusiveness that has enabled the Chinese nation to make continuous progress for thousands of years. I have often emphasized that China's goal is to be a great learning nation. We must avoid complacency and self-importance. Instead, we must be modest and humble, study hard and keep enhancing our capabilities.
The Chinese nation has always valued good neighborliness. Keeping its word and promoting harmony among all nations have always been the guiding principles of China's foreign policy. China sees its neighborhood as the key to its well-being and the foundation of its development and prosperity. We have proposed the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness as guidelines of our neighborhood diplomacy. The very purpose is to express our genuine desire to live in harmony with our neighbors and concentrate on common development. We want to work together with our neighbors to make the pie of cooperation even bigger so that we can all share the fruits of development.
China, a country with over 1.3 billion people, has managed to complete, in just several decades, the journey of development which took developed countries several centuries. This is a historic achievement. That said, we are also soberly aware of the fact that China remains the biggest developing country in the world and is still at the primary stage of socialism. It is true that its economic aggregate is big, but when divided by 1.3 billion, its per capita GDP only ranks around the 80th place in the world. It takes long and arduous work to ensure over 1.3 billion people a better life.
For quite some time to come, China will focus on economic development and, on this basis, work to promote social progress across the board. China has set a development goal for itself, that is, to double 2010 GDP and per capita urban and rural income and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020, and to build China into a modem, socialist country that is prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century. We have identified this goal as the Chinese dream of great national renewal.
To realize this Chinese dream, China needs a long-term peaceful and stable external environment. Only the path of peaceful development can lead China to attaining its development goal. After suffering from the pain of over 100 years of incessant warfare in modem times, the Chinese people hate to see such tragic experience repeat anywhere in the world. As the ancient Chinese philosophy teaches us, "Do not do onto others what you do not want them to do onto you." China cherishes and loves peace. And it is firm in its resolve to maintain peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The people in South Asia, from Nepal to Maldives, and from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, have yearned for a better life and pursued national revitalization. All this has promised a bright future for the development of South Asia. I am convinced that South Asia, a subcontinent that holds infinite promise and potential, will become a new pole of growth in Asia and beyond.
A South Asia that enjoys peace, stability, development and prosperity serves the interests of countries and people in the region and of China as well. China wants to live in harmony with all countries in the region and contribute its share to the development of the region. The "Belt" and "Road" initiatives that China has put forward are precisely aimed at strengthening connectivity among countries along the routes of the traditional land and maritime Silk Roads, with a view to achieving common prosperity, complementarity in trade and closer people-to-people ties. China hopes that, propelled by the two "wings" of the "Belt" and the "Road", its economy will take off together with those of South Asian countries.
China and countries in South Asia are important partners for cooperation. Our cooperation, like a massive treasure long-awaited to be unearthed, promises great prospects for us. In the next five years, China will work with South Asian countries to increase the bilateral trade to US$150 billion and its investment in South Asia to US$30 billion and provide US$20 billion in concessional facilities to the region. China will expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges with South Asia. It plans to offer 10,000 scholarships, training opportunities for 5,000 people and an exchange and training program for 5,000 youth, and train 5,000 Chinese language teachers for South Asia in the next five years. China will work with countries of South Asia to implement the China-South Asia Partnership Initiative for Science and Technology, give full play to the role of China-South Asia Expo, and build new platforms for mutually beneficial cooperation.
China is the biggest neighbor of South Asia and India is the largest country in South Asia. China is ready to work together with India and make greater contribution to the development of the region so that the three billion people living on both sides of the Himalayas will enjoy peace, friendship, stability and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ninety years ago, Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet admired by the Chinese people, visited China and was warmly received there. Upon setting foot on China's soil, Tagore said, "I don't know why, but coming to China is like coming home." Upon leaving China, he said quite sadly, "My heart stays."
Today, I see among the audience young people from both China and India. The youth represent the future of our two countries and the hope of Asia and the world. The youth may have feelings of joy and sorrow from their everyday life, but they never stop pursuing their ideals with conviction and devotion. I hope that all of you will draw wisdom and inspiration from the ancient Chinese and Indian civilizations and march forward in the pursuit of truth. I hope that you will enhance heart-to-heart communication and that your young hearts will stay in China and in India. Let us work together in one mind and usher in a bright future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In conclusion, I would like to share with my Indian friends a Chinese saying: "The man of virtue, while establishing himself and pursuing success, also works to establish others and enable them to succeed as well." In pursuing its own development, China sincerely hopes to see a prosperous and strong India and looks forward to making progress together with India. The Chinese people will always progress together with the Indian people on their path of development and revitalization. I believe that our two peoples, who once left indelible impact on the development of human civilization, will make new and greater contribution to Asia and the world as a whole.
Dhanyavad. Thank you.