India, China can together unlock potential

By Bao Chuanjian Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/20 20:33:40

Photo: VCG

It is widely acknowledged that China and India are playing pivotal roles in regional and global affairs in the 21st century. Indeed, both countries have taken comparable stances or approaches to many critical policy areas, such as international trade and global governance reform, on intergovernmental platforms. As emerging economies and the two most populous countries, China-India cooperation can affect the livelihood and welfare of 2.7 billion people.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in 2017 ushered in a new era of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. New Delhi's pursuit of a New India vision is also gaining momentum and has received wide support among the Indian people. Cooperation and civilizational exchanges in recent years have benefited both countries in terms of deeper mutual understanding and increasing favorable perceptions of each other held by the general public and the policymakers. 

In this context, the latest informal meeting between President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mamallapuram near the southern Indian city of Chennai has generated an environment of bonhomie in both countries. 

Xi's six-point proposal during the meeting focused on strengthening mutual exchanges and cooperation, and was warmly shared by Modi. Both leaders pointed out their enthusiasm and optimism for the prospects of China-India relations.  

Looking back at the history of China-India relations, to be sure, the two ancient civilizations have been through twists and turns in dealing with each other. However, both have realized clearly that in the 21st century no country is an island, and the best strategy in the ever-changing world is to cooperate and seek common ground. In other words, there is huge untapped potential to be unlocked in China-India relations. 

First, China and India can share their experience in poverty reduction and inclusive development. The success of poverty alleviation in China and India is an important basis for attaining the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. 

Since the reform and opening-up in late 1970s, China's economic growth and poverty reduction achievements have attracted worldwide attention. The fact that more than 850 million people have been lifted out of poverty during the last 40 years is the most significant contribution to global poverty reduction efforts. 

As documented by Professor Yuen Yuen Ang in her famous book How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, the country promoted changes based on the utilization of its own endowments rather than prescriptions from pundits outside. Many developing countries are taking lessons from China in maintaining macroeconomic stability through gradual reforms and relying on market incentives to increase agricultural productivity. 

India's economy has grown steadily with remarkable progress in poverty alleviation. A series of innovative programs have been implemented. These include exploring microfinance and microinsurance to address credit constraints facing a large number of rural peasants and entrepreneurs. India also shares the experience of macroeconomic stability as a prerequisite for effective poverty alleviating policies to be implemented. It is expected that India's economic growth will lead to higher poverty reduction and more job creation in the future. 

Second, China and India should work closely to maintain a multipolar world order and promote global governance reforms. As emerging powers, China and India have taken pragmatic measures in safeguarding the interests of developing countries at WTO, G20, BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, etc. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, under which 195 intergovernmental agreements have been signed in the past six years, has always opened its door to India.

India is a major founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and has been actively working to increase its international influence and soft power in South Asia and global affairs in recent years. Noting that India is the largest beneficiary of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that China has set up, the potential for cooperation between the two countries is enormous. 

Third, both should take concrete measures to build strategic trust and promote civilizational dialogue. To navigate our unpredictable and changing world, it is required to abandon the might-makes-right thinking and promote win-win development. With sui generis civilizations, China and India face more common interests than contradictions. It's generally agreed that only by the two countries working jointly can regional peace and prosperity be realized. A prosperous China is conducive to India's development as a prosperous India is conducive to China's development. 

China is committed to building a community of shared future for mankind, of which win-win thinking is an integral part. As opportunities beckon, the two countries can continue to enhance cooperation on a series of important issues related to development and global governance, so as to learn from each other and jointly create a more resilient China-India community with a shared future. 

The author is an assistant professor at Central Compilation and Translation Bureau. 


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