Li Peng, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said in Beijing Monday that the maintenance and development of the good- neighborly and friendly relations between China and India can meet the fundamental interests of the two peoples.
Li made the remark in a meeting with Deve Gowda, former Indian prime minister, at this summer resort.
Li spoke highly of the role played by Gowda in consolidating and developing Sino-Indian ties during and after his tenure as Indian prime minister.
He also recalled his own Indian tour last January, saying his talks and meetings with Indian leaders then were "fruitful".
China cherishes its traditional friendship with the Indian people, and has always advocated the improvement and development of bilateral ties on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, he said.
Despite of twists and turns in the five decades after the two countries forged diplomatic ties, Li said, friendship and cooperation remain the mainstream of bilateral ties.
As the world's two largest developing countries, Li said, China and India face similar issues in national construction and share similar or identical views in major international and regional issues.
Li hoped that people from all walks of life in the two countries enhance friendly exchanges to promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples and further advance bilateral relations.
Gowda agreed with Li's views on bilateral ties and appraised highly the visits to India by Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 1996 and Li Peng earlier this year.
He said that the agreements signed by Jiang and himself during Jiang's Indian tour are still important for pushing forward Indian- Chinese relations.
Besides the development of official ties, he said, he hoped the two countries would strengthen people-to-people contacts for enhancing understanding, trust and friendship.
Gowda is here as a guest of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs. Besides Beijing, he is also scheduled to visit Xi 'an and Shanghai.