Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Friday he hopes his discussions with the Chinese leadership will "build better understanding and trust between our two peoples, and impart further momentum to our broad-based bilateral cooperation."
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua before his visit to China from June 22 to June 27, he said, "My visit to China is the first by an Indian prime minister in nearly a decade. In this period, our two countries have developed a wide canvas of mutually beneficial cooperation."
He said, "The world around us has also changed dramatically during these years. As two of the world's largest and most populous developing countries, India and China should remain in close touch on global issues of concern to developing countries."
He also noted that Indian and China jointly defined the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence about 50 years ago as the basis of relations between sovereign, independent countries.
With a commitment to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and with mutual sensitivity to the concern of each other, the two countries can construct an enduring and powerful partnership, he added.
The Indian leader said that he also looks forward to the opportunity of witnessing for himself the rapid economic development China has achieved in the last two decades.
"Your remarkable successes have many lessons for India," he said.
On Sino-Indian relations, he said, "In recent years, our two countries have launched a process of diversification of bilateral relations."
"We have successfully developed mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation, while simultaneously addressing our differences," he said.
He indicated, "Our dialogue now addresses not only the various areas in which we can improve bilateral cooperation, but also international issues such as terrorism, security, environment, sustainable development and multilateral economic regimes."
"Our trade relations are developing in a healthy manner. Exchanges are growing in culture, education, science and technology, media and tourism," he added.
"But for the two countries which together have one-third of humanity," he said, "We have only taken the first few steps. We need to do much more to fulfill the true potential of our partnership -- in the search for a multi-polar world order, in fashioning pragmatic responses to the challenges of globalization, and in promoting a climate of peace, stability and development in Asia and in the world."
The prime minister said he hopes to discuss these aspects with the Chinese leadership during his forthcoming visit to China
On the economic ties between the two countries, he said, "India and China are among the world's fastest growing economies. The basic structure of our economies is not dissimilar, though we have chosen different paths towards development. We have complementarities created by our technological development and human resources skills."
He said, "Our trade is growing rapidly. It nearly touched 5 billion US dollars last year and, at the rate at which it is growing, can easily reach 10 billion dollars in the next couple of years."
"Of course, we have to constantly strive to increase the proportion of 'new economy' products in our turnover, compared to the traditional item," he said.
He said, "Indian companies are showing interest in investing in China. About 70 Indian companies have entered China, with an investment total of about 65 million dollars."
"I understand more projects are on the anvil. We would equally like to see Chinese companies investing in India," he added.
The prime minister stressed, "The convergence of our commercial interests in information technology has not been fully realized. The undoubted Chinese prowess in hardware manufacturing can form a formidable synergy with Indian software engineering."
"I am sure there are other possibilities for strategic alliances and joint ventures between our companies for competitive presence in global markets," he said.
He also indicated, "During my visit, I will discuss with the Chinese leadership proactive measures to identify and exploit new opportunities for economic and technological cooperation."
(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2003)