Visiting Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh jointly lit a lamp in New Delhi Monday to unveil the "Chinese culture month" in celebration of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Indian diplomatic ties.
"I lit the lamp with Prime Minister Singh to make a wish for the friendship between China and India," Premier Wen addressed the opening ceremony of the "Chinese culture month."
Lighting lamp is the tradition of the ancient country of India to show a good sign, and it is done while opening a new business or on a religious occasion.
China and India are close neighbors, and contacts between the two countries have never stopped over the past 2,000 years, Wen said.
He noted that India recognized the People's Republic of China when it was founded, and that this will be remembered by Chinese people forever. He said the two countries also jointly advocated the Five-Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
"Good-neighborliness is the mainstream in Sino-Indian relationship," he said.
The relationship between China and India has experienced ups and downs over the past half a century. It has been upgraded to a new level and kept growing since former Indian Prime Minister Atalbihari Vajpayee visited China and signed a historic joint declaration in 2003.
During Wen's current India tour, the two countries signed a joint statement upgrading their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership, outlined economic and trade cooperation in the next five years, and published the guiding principles on the settlement of their border issue.
Singh said the joint statement signed Monday is a historic one, and that the two countries should take the opportunity to enhance their bilateral relations to such a height as what the two countries had reached in ancient times.
Both Wen and Singh said "China and India are brothers," and should work together for better relations and cooperation.
The "Chinese culture month," which is sponsored by the culture ministries of the two countries and will last for a month, features Chinese dance show, exhibition, and movie festival.
Wen will conclude his visit to India, the last leg of his South Asian tour, and return to Beijing Tuesday. He has already visited Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
(Xinhua News Agency April 12, 2005)