Sushma Swaraj proposes 6-point template for broad-based Sino-India ties

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Beijing, Feb 1: On her maiden visit to China, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday proposed a six point "template" to broad base Sino-India engagement with an action-oriented approach to usher in Asian century.

Addressing an India-China Media forum at the start of her visit here, Swaraj proposed the two countries should follow an action-oriented approach, broad base bilateral engagement, convergence of common, regional and global interests, develop new areas of cooperation, expand strategic communication, fullfill common aspirations to usher "Asian century".

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Highlighting that her visit is taking place against the backdrop of new government taking over office in India with a decisive mandate, Swaraj said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government propelled the aspiration of young, vibrant and enterprising generation.

"Even in the last eight months it is already evident that dramatic transformations are underway in my country that will accelerate our journey to modernity," Swaraj said.

In the background of a strong government emerging in India, Swaraj said Modi already had three meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and met Premier Li Keqiang.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the first foreign dignitary to have been invited by India after Modi government took over, Swaraj said pointing the to important India attached to the relations with China.

On the defence relations between the two countries Swaraj said "we have made considerable progress in establishing and expanding defence contacts and exchanges including across the our border".

"They contribute to the maintenance of peace and tranquillity there, a perquisite to, for the further development of our relationship. On the boundary question my government is committed to expanding an early settlement", she said.

Stating that the ties have grown beyond bilateral ties, Swaraj said the two countries now are parts of multilateral bodies like BRICS and BASIC. The minister said she will be attending the Russia, India, China Foreign Ministers meet tomorrow. Swaraj said more importantly the relationship with key neighbours requires strong and broad based support from people of both the countries.

"It is only logical that therefore we have invested our energies in strengthening people to people contacts. During this visit I expect to that area to be forward in many ways", she said. Swaraj said she will be launching "2015: Visit India Year in China".

"Tourism is an effective vehicle to promote people to people understanding and the two countries agreed that we need to make stronger efforts in that regard" she said adding that the cultural exchange initiative agreed during Xi's visit is currently under way. Swaraj said "a critical nature" of the bilateral ties are the growing economic ties.

"China today is our largest partner in trade and goods. The two countries are moving to invest in each other. Serious discussions enhancing connectivity has been initiated. On that foundation we are now seeking to take our economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level", she added.

She was received by the Chinese Information Minister Jiang Jianguuo when she arrived to address the Forum attended by a number of journalists from India and China. Swaraj said the "close developmental partnership" agreed during last September visit of Xi to India "symbolises that determination".

"Another major thrust is in establishing industrial parts in to India that would contribute to Make in India campaign", she said. "China agreed to invest USD 20 billion in the parks. We will make it easier for Chinese companies to do business in India and expect that similar encouragement would be given to our companies to expand their business in China", she added.

Eluding to civilisational links between the two countries and the far reaching influence of Buddhism, Swaraj said: "Our ancient scholars of two civilisations have played their critical role in building of these ties".

"Chinese monks Fa Hsien and Xuan Zang and many other braved many difficulties to travel to India in search of knowledge. Similarly Indian monks Kashyap Matanga and Kumarjiva and many others travelled to China to spread the knowledge", she said.

"It is important for us to revive Xuan Zanvg spirit among Chinese scholars and journalists, Kumarajiva spirit among Indian scholars and journalists," she added. "As visit India year is celebrated this year followed visit China year, this is most appropriate opportunity to reinvigorate the Xuan Zang and Kumarajva spirit," Swaraj said.

PTI

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