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China and India must shed burden of the dead past to move ahead

By Deng Xijun, Charge d’ Affaires, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in India

Besides China, which country in Asia or across the world has the biggest market for fast-moving consumer goods? Only India. A study report of Boston Consulting Group points out that, by 2020, the middle class of India will grow to 45% of its population. From 2010 to 2020, the consumer expenditures of China and India are expected to reach $64 trillion. Such huge market potential draws Chinese businessmen to India.

As two of the fastest-growing economies in the last 10 years, China and India are expected to have more robust trade and economic cooperation in the future. China now is India’s largest trading partner. Indian companies such as InfosysBSE 2.08 % and Tatas have opened branches in China. Chinese companies such as Huawei, ZTE and Shanghai Electric are carrying out projects and programmes in India. Every time I took the flight from Delhi to Guangzhou, I could see a large number of Indian friends coming to China for business opportunities. However, compared with the huge market potential, the trade volume of around $70 billion and the mutual investment of less than $1 billion between China and India are just the tip of the iceberg.

India is planning to invest massively to develop infrastructure in the next five years. The advanced technology and good cost performance of Chinese companies will fit well. The Indian government recently opened up the retail sector to foreign brands. It will provide more opportunities for Chinese businessmen. India’s experience in financial, service and private sector is precisely what China needs to learn for economic restructuring. In a word, China and India have every reason to explore each other’s market and increase mutual investment. When the global economy is slowing down and the US and European markets shrinking, the growth forecast of China and India has also been trimmed. If we two countries could carry out win-win economic cooperation, it would extend our prime period of development to an even longer one.

Undeniably, the current China-India relations cannot be termed “as intimate as brothers”. There is something between us. Maybe due to the unforgettable scars left by the 1962 conflict, a small group of people always hype the potential conflicts and competition between China and India, describing our two countries as mutual threats and rivals. This inevitably affects bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Actually, the common interests between China and India far outweigh the differences. The overriding task of China and India is economic development. How to raise the world GDP per-capita ranking and how to improve the living standards of 2.5 billion people are our common challenges. On the way to this goal, China and India need to learn from, and cooperate with, each other.

The world today is no longer what it was 50 years ago, neither is China or India. When the economies and fates of China and India are increasingly bound together, our thoughts also need to change with the times. We should say goodbye to the shadow of the past and look at the China-India relations in a new and comprehensive way with a light heart. Only then can we join hands to move forward even faster and farther.

Source: The Economic Times