India, China Must Respect Each Other’s Core Concerns, Says S Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

India, China Must Respect Each Other’s Core Concerns, Says S Jaishankar

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India and China should respect each other's core concerns, manage their differences, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Wednesday. The relationship between the two countries has become "so big" it has acquired a "global dimension", he added.

Jaishankar, who concluded his three-day China visit on Tuesday, held extensive talks with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on India-China relations. He also called on Vice President Wang Qishan, a close confidante of President Xi Jinping.

As the two largest developing countries and emerging economies, cooperation between India and China is of great importance to the world, Jaishankar said in an interview to state news agency Xinhua.

India and China are the world's only two emerging economies that boast a population of more than 1 billion each.

“Our relationship is so big that it is no longer a bilateral relationship. It has global dimensions,” Xinhua quoted Jaishankar as saying.

Describing the world as "more multi-polar" with a changing global order, the external affairs minister said India and China need to enhance communication and coordination to contribute to world peace, stability and development.

The two countries should find stronger areas of convergence, respect each other's core concerns, find ways of managing their differences and keep a strategic view of the direction of bilateral ties, he said.

Jaishankar, who served as India's ambassador to China from 2009 to 2013, the longest tenure by an Indian diplomat to Beijing, said he was happy to be back in China at the beginning of his new role as India's external affairs minister. "I feel, in this responsibility, I can contribute once again to building India-China relations. For me, that's a huge part of my overall foreign policy responsibility.”

"A lot of people, including young people of both countries, really don't have a good understanding of how much our two cultures of civilisations have affected each other," Jaishankar said. "Promoting a greater awareness of that history" through more cultural exchanges is an important task for the two countries.

"When we look back (at the past 69 years), there are many lessons that both of us can take from it. The primary lesson is that it is important for India and China to cooperate closely if we are to realise the Asian century," he said.

India and China have agreed to establish high-level, people-to-people exchanges mechanism in April last year and the first meeting was held in New Delhi in December.

Describing the move as "taking the bilateral relationship from the narrow diplomatic field to a larger societal interaction", Jaishankar said the more people of the two nations interact face-to-face, the more their sense of relating to each other will grow.

"It's important for our relationship to build popular support. Our people must feel good about each other," he said.

The minister also co-chaired the second meeting of the India-China high-level people-to-people exchanges mechanism with Wang Yi, agreeing to further promote friendship between the two peoples.

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