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A handshake across the Himalayas

China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-21 08:13
Editor's note: Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang published on Monday a signed article titled A Handshake Across the Himalayas in The Hindu, an English-language Indian daily, and Dainik Jagran, the largest read daily in India. The following is the full text of the article:

We live in an age of change, but there are always certain things that are enduring, forever refreshing and attractive. India is such a nation, at once old and young. I am leading a Chinese government delegation to India, the first country I visit as the premier of China. I am very much looking forward to it and hope to make some concrete contribution to deepening the friendship and promoting cooperation in various areas between China and India.

Both China and India have a long and great history that goes back thousands of years. The Chinese and Indian civilizations are among the oldest of human civilization. They represent the two pillars of the civilization of the East. The towering Himalayas have not prevented them from mutual attraction and illumination. Fahien and Huen Tsang, two eminent Chinese monks of the Jin and Tang dynasties respectively, and Bodhidharma of ancient India all made outstanding contributions to religious and cultural exchanges between China and India. In my student days, I already had a strong interest in India. I was impressed by the memorable poetic lines and the deep philosophical insights of Rabindranath Tagore, the famed "sage poet", and moved by his profound friendship with the leading Chinese authors of his day. There was a Chinese Indologist at my alma mater, Peking University, with whom I was well acquainted. He spent his whole life studying and teaching ancient Indian culture and in recognition of his contribution, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. Indeed, from generation to generation, our two cultures have learned and benefited from each other through exchanges and as a result, they have both flourished with the passage of time.

When I first visited India 27 years ago, I was struck by her warm sunshine, brilliant colors, beautiful arts, hard-working and talented people and amazing splendor and diversity. As far as I know, the India of the 21st century is taking a fast track of innovation-driven development. Bangalore, the "Silicon Valley of South Asia", is home to about 1/3 of IT talents in India; it is not only the ICT center of India, but also a hub of software services in Asia. India's manufacturing sector has also moved forward. Tata Motors ranks among the world's top five manufacturers of commercial vehicles, and Tata Global Beverages is the world's second-largest producer of tea. I have read that Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, had travelled to India with no other purpose than to learn yoga and meditation. It is believed that this gave him many inspirations and resolve for innovation. Now, a growing number of Chinese youth are backpacking across your country, intent on discovering and appreciating India's magnificent culture and retracing the footsteps of history.

China and India, two big Asian countries living next door to each other, are destined to be together.

Since modern times, our destinies have been more closely tied than ever. Our peoples sympathized with, supported and helped each other in their quest for national independence and liberation, leaving behind a trail of touching stories. Afterwards, our two countries jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which have become the important basic norms underpinning the new type of international relations that we both seek. Our two countries have worked shoulder to shoulder to uphold the rights and interests of developing countries, giving lasting traction to South-South cooperation.

Today, the handshake across the Himalayas is even stronger. Facing the same task of boosting the economy, improving people's living standards and reviving the nation, both countries need a peaceful and tranquil neighborhood and external environment and wish to achieve win-win results through dialogue and cooperation. India, a strong Asian nation and a major country with global influence, is playing an increasingly important role in international affairs. India, a BRICS member with robust economic growth, is playing a significant role for peace and prosperity in South Asia and in the Asia Pacific in general. China is happy to see the growth momentum of India and ready to expand and upgrade Sino-Indian cooperation to the benefit of all-round economic and social development in both countries.

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