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Cover Stories Series 2013> Friendship First> Archive
UPDATED: May 24, 2013 NO. 22 MAY 30, 2013
Reaching out Across the Himalayas
Premier Li's trip stresses further cooperation between China and India
By Yu Lintao

DEEP FRIENDSHIP: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with Manorama, sister of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis who died in China while providing medical aid during World War II, in Mumbai on May 21. The Indian physician provided medical aid to China during World War II (JU PENG)

The big picture

"Premier Li's visit to India demonstrates both the high importance Beijing attaches to New Delhi and the confidence of the two sides for cooperation in regional and international affairs," said Sun Shihai, President of the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies. Sun added that the visit played a positive role in enhancing mutual trust.

Lou Chunhao, a researcher on South Asian studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told Beijing Review that as two emerging powers and the largest developing countries, both consider their relationship to be of special importance.

When meeting with Premier Li, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed that "India and China are partners, not opponents." Mainstream Indian media paid close attention to Li's visit. Press Trust of India wrote, "While President Xi Jinping chose to visit Russia on his way to the BRICS Summit in March, Li chose India to be his first destination abroad to send a message of the commitment of the new leadership to further friendly relations with New Delhi." The Times of India newspaper commented that it was a golden opportunity for New Delhi to seize and script a fresh, more positive chapter in bilateral relations.

A few days before Li's trip, a border standoff took place in the western part of the border the two countries share.

However, despite being much hyped by the international media, the incident was quickly resolved. Observers said it was a sign that the two neighbors are becoming more mature in handling their differences.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao said at a press conference before Li's trip that China and India should "focus on the big issues while managing properly the small issues."

Jiang Jingkui, Director of the Center of South Asian Studies at Peking University, said neither side is willing to allow a small issue like a border dispute to disrupt their strategic partnership.

During his stay in New Delhi, Premier Li said, "World peace and regional stability cannot be a reality without strategic mutual trust between China and India.

On the world stage, China and India are natural partners in reshaping global rules on climate change, trade and finance. They have already carried out effective cooperation within the frameworks of the Group of 20 and BRICS to push for a fairer multi-polar world.

Lou said the common ground of cooperation for both countries is the need for a peaceful and stable environment for development.

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