Indian minister wants competition not confrontation

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Competitions between China and India do not necessarily mean confrontation between the two neighboring Asian nations, Indian minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh said in Hainan Sunday.

"These two giants must cooperate, as the Chinese leaders say, in a harmonious manner," Ramesh said at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference which concluded Sunday in south China's island province of Hainan.

Ramesh said both sides have to move forward and compromise.

For example, he said cooperation between India and China in the United Nations climate change conference last December in Copenhagen could become a "trigger for deepening cooperation" between the two nations in all fields.

At a panel discussion, Ramesh was asked whether the competition between the two nations was as fierce as what was described in The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us, a book written by American journalist Rogyn Meredith.

The book perceived the two nations as "natural enemies," Ramesh said. But "I'll not read this book for peace."

Ramesh was the first minister-level Indian official attending the regional forum, according to outgoing BFA secretary-general Long Yongtu.

Established in 2001, the BFA is committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals.

"It's a historical moment for the BFA," Long said when introducing Ramesh.

"China and India are not competing so fierce as some people say" and the two countries "share more than we compete," Long said.

However, there are "too few people-to-people contact" between the two most populated and booming economies, Long said.

He said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) or its member states will also have a "more active and bigger role" in the cooperation between China and India.

Currently, China is India's second largest trade partner and India is China's 10th biggest trade partner. Statistics show Sino-Indian trade increased by more than 30 percent annually between 2004 and 2008.

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