India-China (PRC) Relations : The Way Forward

ANNUAL CALCUTTA DIALOGUE 'India-China (PRC) Relations: The Way Forward' was organized by CENERS-K at Lalit Great Eastern Hotel

India-PR China relations have progressed positively since the informal Summits at Wuhan and Mamallapuram, the initiation of a structured dialogue process which commenced with the meeting of Foreign Ministers who agreed on 10 pillars of cooperation and have since created other structures of negotiation. Global economic developments and trade issues as well as India’s own imperatives of development need both sides to work out how to diversify and optimize areas of mutual engagement for the benefit of both and encourage greater B2B and P2P interaction to deepen mutual knowledge and greater understanding. PR China can be a most valuable partner in India's development and prosperity provided we can properly define the areas and boundaries of mutual engagement to evolve win-win partnerships. This requires us to understand our own capabilities and needs to engage PR China in a trading and investment relationship that leads to our development without indebtedness and make PRC a valuable partner. The international pushback resulting from PR China’s strategic ambitions, notably on trade issues with the USA and maritime assertion in the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific, has also helped to underline the need for the two Asian giants to seek closer and more diverse areas of mutual engagement. However, as long as relative stability and peace prevail on our borders with PR China, we need to foster far greater awareness and understanding of China in India and to use its economic, scientific and technological progress to improve our own economy, standards of living and quality of life.

China has also expressed great interest in creating investment, business, education and tourism relationships with eastern India, proposing a Kunming-Kolkata rail link in 2015, participating in the Bengal Business Summit, supporting annual activities of the Kolkata-Kunming Forum, inviting WB CM to visit China to foster relations between PRC provinces and Indian States. China’s outreach toward West Bengal and other eastern Indian states should be welcomed. It helps to enhance bilateral ties, address the problem of slower growth in eastern India, develop skills and promote industry, agriculture, services and logistics opportunities for employment, which are key developmental challenges for the eastern region. However, the COVID-19 outbreak may create some challenges in the near & medium term.

Hence, CENERS-K & ICC would like to encourage deliberations on how to foster and increase our trade, economic and investment links with our great neighbour, cooperate in global commons issues like climate change and SDGs, share common natural resources equitably, interact effectively and positively in multilateral fora like RIC, BRICS, SCO, encourage cultural exchange and P2P, B2B,G2G interaction and cooperation, particularly with eastern India.

We hope that our efforts will enlighten our people and encourage their entrepreneurial spirit to engage with one another in partnerships for prosperity and mutual benefit.