New Delhi / BEIJING - A key Indian figure called on Beijing and New Delhi to abandon outdated modes of thought and increase cooperation, despite ongoing border disputes and competition for regional influence that reflects the intricacy of their relationship.
In a recent interview ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India, Madhav Das Nalapat, a professor of geopolitics at Manipal University in southern India, expressed his hopes that the two countries can abandon stereotypes and seize the opportunity to create a mutually beneficial situation.
Nalapat previously served as a shadow cabinet member under former Indian prime minister Narasimha Rao and edited The Times of India, the country's largest English language newspaper, where he wrote about the nation's security policies and international affairs.
Although he has no formal role in the current Indian government, he wields considerable influence and is a close friend of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Nalapat said he has heard that the prime minister has a close relationship with Wen, whom he has the highest regard for as a person as well as a leader.
"Let the two good people in power do good things for both countries," he said.
For their mutual benefit, Nalapat stressed the importance of China and India respecting each other's core interests, which form the cornerstone of sound bilateral ties.
While many have argued that border disputes account for longstanding distrust between Beijing and New Delhi, Nalapat insisted that the two countries have largely peacefully coexisted throughout history.
"In a span of 5,000 years, we only had 10 weeks of war in 1962."
To address the issue of border disputes, he recommended making it "irrelevant", while gathering momentum in other areas, such as climate change and trade.
He also said China and India, the world's two most populous countries, should strengthen their economic ties in an effort to alleviate poverty.
Commenting on the rows that often flare up in the media, Nalapat said their practitioners fail to reflect the growing interdependence between India and China and are too reliant on outsiders.
He recommended that members of media in both countries take an active interest in reducing their use of critical rhetoric and forging more transparent and cooperative relations.
To aid mutual understanding, he called for cultural exchanges to take place on a regular basis, especially among the younger generation, which tends to be more open minded.
Wang Di and Yu Yang contributed to this story.