''We must engage China to learn to both compete and cooperate," Dr Singh said interacting with Indian businessmen, a day ahead of the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation summit here tomorrow. The Prime Minister called for increased economic engagement between India and China.
After listening to their perceptions about the problems and opportunities in the growth of India-China trade, Dr Singh observed that a large part of the thinking in India is shaped by the western views of China and there is a need for greater investment in India in a better understanding of the process of changes in China.
Dr Singh said," The rise of China and India should be viewed as an international public good by the global community, since it offers new opportunities to sustain global growth. At a time when there are concerns about a global economic slowdown, China and India can sustain global growth through their own development.'' He added,''It is a historic necessity for the two great neighbours to work together. There will be areas of competition, and there will be areas for cooperation. There is enough space in the world for both countries to continue to grow and address the developmental aspirations of their peoples.'' Dr Singh held wide ranging discussions with Indian businessmen on measures to increase bilateral trade, and evolving a strategy to correct the increasing trade deficit.
The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the India-China Economic Summit here tomorrow. The event is being organised by the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). About 400 captains of the Industry are expected to participate in the meet, with about 300 from China alone.
Comprehensive economic and commercial engamement with China is a core component of the Sino-Indo partnership. Bilateral trade touched 34.2 billion dollars in Jan-Nov 2007-- a fifty four per cent growth year-on-year with a trade deficit of 9.02 billion dollars for India.
The huge deficit has been a big worry for Indian industry and ways are being explored to tackle the situation.
The two countries had established a joint task force to study the feasibilitry and benefits of an India-China Regional Trading Arrangement (RTA ). The report by the Task Force was finalised in October last year and it would be discussed during the high profile visit.
Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has already arrived here for discussions on various issues pertaining to bilateral trade.