Renewed Beijing-New Delhi friendship tough but priceless to maintain

By Tan Zhong Source:Global Times Published: 2012-10-23 22:40:08

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1962 China-India border conflict. It is also the "Year of China-India Friendship and Cooperation" announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a move delivering a clear signal that both countries would like to hide the deep scars brought by the historical conflict.

Despite the unpleasant history and development gap between China and India, both have a profound culture and diplomatic wisdom.

As newly emerging countries, they hold similar stances in issues such as the global order, economic development and climate change. The two should become inseparable strategic partners.

China and India used to act hand-in-hand. Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, used the term "nonalignment" during a speech in 1954 in Colombo. He described the five pillars to be used a guide for Sino-Indian relations, which were later put forth by then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai to form the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. The nonalignment policy could be considered a wise measure taken by emerging countries to compete with the world's great powers at that time.

Famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore used to describe China as a brother country. Nehru encouraged people to sing "Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai," which means "China and India are brothers." Unfortunately, the war in 1962 greatly affected the friendly relationship between the two countries, and the relationship didn't pick up until decades later. Friendly relationship between countries needs careful cultivation. But once destroyed, it takes a great deal of time and energy to restore it.

The civilization of both China and India originated from the Himalayas and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. And there was no conflict during their historical change that last thousands of years.

Sages brought India's ancient culture to China. After the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), China faced collapse. Buddhism contributed greatly to China's unification. Today Indians have to come to China for documents if they want to know their cultural past.

Both China and India are emerging countries in the current international arena, and they face challenges from the outside world. The population of both countries together makes up 40 percent of the world's total. Their prosperity will benefit the whole world.

The border issues, historical problems and trade frictions are only a small part of Sino-Indian relations. I hope that the anniversary of the 1962 China-India conflict will become a starting point for the promising cooperation between the two countries.

The author is a Chinese Indian scholar.

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