C3S Report No: 0017/2017
The Chennai Centre for China Studies(C3S) received H.E. Luo Zhaohui, Ambassador of China to India and a delegation from the Chinese Embassy, Delhi, as part of an informal interaction at C3S, Athena Infonomics Building, Chennai on September 22 2017.
Commodore Vasan, Director of C3S, commenced the interaction by welcoming the Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Luo Zhaohui and the delegates from the Chinese Embassy, Delhi. This was H.E.’s second visit to Chennai since his stint as Second Secretary at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.
He began by recalling the ancient cultural ties between the two countries. According to him, the Doklam standoff, was given more attention that it’s due. A consensus at both the public and governmental levels however, also needs to be implemented proactively by the bureaucratic machinery. H.E. reassured the members present that concrete protocols and organized bureaucratic machinery exists to handle issues such as the Doklam as and when they arise and that restraint should be exercised on rhetoric surrounding these issues.
While talking about the necessity for ameliorating bilateral relations he alluded to the effectiveness of holding informal meetings between leaders and cultivating strong ties at the highest level of government. In conjunction with these high profile relations, he also talked about the need to engage youth in mending bilateral ties by conducting Educational Summits and exchanges. H.E. Luo had stressed that the youth and the coming generations take forward relations to a higher level.
Next, he drew attention to the rich history of cultural exchange between India and China and the existence of Hindu temples in China’s Yunnan province. His opinion is that these amicable relations live on in the personal relations between the two leaders of the country and that this goes a long way in resolving issues promptly. He cited Prime Minister Modi’s visits to Guangdong as Chief Minister of Gujarat, referring to the long standing friendly camaraderie between Modi and Jinping that is a result of their common experiences, rising through the ranks from humble beginnings. Soft power measures such as Indian phenomena- Yoga, Bollywood, etc. are making their presence felt in China. H.E. Luo was very impressed with films like Dangal. In fact, an India-China Yoga College has been established by the Yunnan Minzu University in China. The connection between Shaolin and India was underlined. Assam black tea is popular among the Chinese youth.
Moving on to economic relations, H.E. talked about China’s willingness to bridge the asymmetry of trade between the two countries, With more than 70 billion USD in total trade, over 5 billion USD in investment from China and more than 500 Chinese companies operating in India, India and China are inextricably linked. Chennai is home to more than 20 of these companies.
H.E. Luo said that the two sides must consider negotiating the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and India, as this Treaty has been agreed upon between China and all other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The BCIM is also an important economic channel. Yunnan is integral to this. In fact there are many similarities between Yunnan and India, which can be used to leverage ties.
H.E. Luo also expressed his view that the cogs and wheels of Indian decision-making can enhance their functioning. Specifically, the red tape and bureaucracy are impediments to improving Chinese investments in India. H.E. Luo also praised the state of Maharashtra for inviting relatively large volumes of foreign investment from China, due to Mumbai’s conducive business environment. China has had a head start in terms of economic reform.
Interestingly, he mentioned how Canada is similar to India, as the former has provinces which promote cooperation and economic ties. Sister city arrangements between India and China were praised and encouraged to expand to more cities.
He espoused how anti-terror cooperation and strategic diplomacy should complement economic collaboration between the two countries. The UNSC Resolution 1267 was highlighted.
The present era was described as having certain challenges. These include the protectionist policy of President Trump.
According to H.E. Luo, China’s commitment to economic reform is more pronounced than India’s. There needs to be an alignment in convictions to economy. Moreover, there should be separation of economic and strategic dimensions. In other words, we must not wait to resolve strategic differences to further economic cooperation. The present situation should continue.
H.E. Luo suggested that an India-China-Pakistan Corridor, passing through Kashmir be implemented. Higher level of interaction between C3S and China was welcomed. This can be via scholar visits. He specifically mentioned a joint seminar.
A brief interactive session ensued. Ms. Preethi Amaresh, Research Officer, C3S and Secretary, Young Minds of C3S, recited a Chinese poem to the Delegation:
让 中国 的 龙 和 印度 的 老虎 一起 上升 吧!
Ràng Zhōng guó de lóng hé Yìn dùde lǎo hǔ yī qǐ shàng shēng ba!
Let the Chinese dragon and the Indian tiger rise together!
让 我们 成长 没有 边界
Ràng wǒmen chéngzhǎng méiyǒu biānjiè
Let us grow without boundaries
而且 以 和平 与 博爱
Érqiě yǐ hépíng yǔ bó’ài
Also with peace and love
Zài máozédōng hé gāndì suǒ shì de dàolù shàng
On the road shown by Mao Zedong and Gandhi
Míngliàng de xiàng tiānkōng zhōng de xīngxīng
Bright like the stars in the sky
Mementos were exchanged.
Cmde. Vasan gave the vote of thanks.