Visiting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji on Monday called on Indian President K R Narayanan and both leaders agreed that despite certain existing problems, the two countries should continuously improve bilateral relations and enhance cooperation in various fields.
Zhu, the first Chinese Premier to visit India in 11 years, met the Indian President at the Presidential Palace in central Delhi. Zhu's wife Lao An and India's First Lady Usha Narayanan were also present during the meeting, which, according to diplomatic sources, was held in an "amicable and friendly" atmosphere.
The Chinese Premier first conveyed warm greetings from President Jiang Zemin to President Narayanan. Calling President Narayanan "an old friend well known to the Chinese people," Zhu said he highly appreciated the President's contributions to the improvement of relations between China and India.
Extending a warm welcome to Zhu, Narayanan said that India and China were both ancient civilizations and have also become important political and economic forces in the world with the rapid economic growth they have achieved.
India believes that India and China could make major contributions to peace and development in the world if the two countries further develop their economies, maintain friendly relations, learn from each other and provide mutual support, Narayanan noted.
Although there are still certain problems between India and China, this should not affect their cooperation in various fields and there remains great potential for continuous progress of bilateral ties, the President stressed.
He also expressed confidence that Zhu's visit would have a significant impact on the future of India-China relations.
Zhu responded by saying that the purpose of his visit was to consolidate friendship, increase trust and expand cooperation between the two countries.
"Although there remain some problems between our two countries that need to be addressed properly, it is more important to cherish the traditional friendship between us and keep our long- term common interest in mind," Zhu added.
If two great nations like China and India could learn from each other and jointly seek development, it would not only benefit both peoples but also contribute a lot to social progress of the whole humanity, he asserted.
"I firmly believe there are enormous potential and broad prospects for China and India to carry out cooperation in various fields," he stated.
During the meeting, President Narayanan also asked Zhu to convey his best wishes to Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
(People's Daily January 15, 2002)