India President Pratibha Patil made a ceremonial visit to Beijing at the end of May. It was the first official visit by an Indian head of state to China in decades. The visit was seen as an effort to consolidate already strong India-China relations in talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Jia Bao and other dignitaries of People’s Republic of China.
India President Patil and her entourage was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Great Hall of People. A banquet was hosted by President Hu Jintao. Chinese military band played well-chosen tunes of Indian music to the pleasant surprise of the visitors, news reports noted.
Both giant neighbors are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. After the victory of the Chinese Revolution, the two countries began diplomatic contacts in 1950 under the friendliest attitude by India’s first prime minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, who was an advocate of Indo-China friendship and a prominent anti-imperialist fighter of India.
It is appropriate to remember here the role he played in raising the voice of India for according China its well deserved seat at the United Nations and its veto-bearing power, as opposed to Taiwan. For 10 long years, India tried hard to get the injustice undone of Western imperialist powers not recognizing People’s Republic of China. They instead had persistently refused and insisted to continue holding Taiwan as the real successor to the Chinese seat at UN for more than a decade.
The happiest outcome of this visit is the promise given by Chinese leaders, including Hu Jintao, to get a permanent UN Security Council Seat for India. Elections are scheduled for the UN body towards the end of the year. There is a widespread demand by the Asian, African, Latin American nations to enlarge the UN Security Council make it more representative. India has aspired for a permanent seat and has received positive responses from various world authorities for such a likelihood, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and the United States, included. A reconstitution of the world body is sure to make it easier for the UN to be able to perform a role of cooling the hot spots in the world of today,
Discussion of the controversial points was avoided in the ceremonial visit, as is usual. But appreciation for the work of China-India border commission that was constituted earlier has been mentioned by both the sides. It is noteworthy here that both sides have maintained the non-infringement of the
MacMahon line f or about 50 years now, more or less successfully, although its final acceptance by China is awaited still. Also the actual line of control, which is being delineated in the difficult to reach terrains of Himalayas, is being respected by both. Any inadvertent transgressions that have occurred have been rectified. Indian Secretary of Foreign Affairs Nirupma Rao told a recent press conference there has been steady progress on the border dispute.
China is currently the most favored trade partner of India. But there is a trade imbalance that came under discussion. In the current year, India’s exports amounted to $13.7 billion (U.S.) and its imports from China to $29.57 billion (U.S.). The Indian side brought to the notice of Chinese leadership the prowess of Indian pharmaceutical and engineering industry goods, and asked for rectification of the imbalance . A visa agreement has been signed to facilitate travel visas, including visa-free travel for airlines staff. This will ease travel difficulties to the citizens on both sides .
India and China crossed over the onslaught of the global economic crisis with relative ease, thanks to a strong public sector and the banks and insurance firms being under state regulation and control.
Photo: Indian President Pratibha Patil