Wen urges stronger trade links with India

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Wednesday started his official visit to India, in which he conducted a series of activities with Indian leaders and representatives from different sectors, urging stronger trade links and promotion of bilateral cooperation.

Addressing a bilateral business cooperation forum in New Delhi, Wen stressed that China and India are cooperative partners instead of rivals, calling for efforts to further enhance bilateral trade links and jointly fight protectionism.

"There is enough room in the world for China and India to develop both countries and cooperate with each other," Wen said.

Hailing the sound momentum of bilateral ties, Wen said that economic and trade cooperation between China and India has witnessed unprecedented progress in recent years. He said it has entered the most vigorous and fruitful "new period."

"Our trade volume has increased by 20 times in the past ten years, and our mutual investment has brought rich benefits to both sides," Wen said.

The premier called for efforts by both sides to create a favorable environment for mutual investment, implement the pact for investment promotion and protection, ease the restrictions on authorization, on capital and personnel flows, and explore the possibility of setting up international economic and trade cooperation zones in each other's country to promote bilateral trade and investment.

Regarding India as one of China's largest overseas engineering contract markets, Wen said the two countries enjoy broad market space, and should open markets for each other to give a strong boost to economic growth.

Wen also had an hour-long interaction with some 50 teenagers and teachers in the Tagore International School Wednesday afternoon. Topics ranged from the Chinese language and calligraphy to yoga and Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.

Dipping a writing brush in black ink, Wen wrote the Chinese characters for "China-India friendship" on a piece of white paper, and then wrote the same characters again on a board.

Greeted by the students as "Grandpa Wen," the premier said he had been deeply touched by the gracious hospitality of Indian people since he arrived in New Delhi.

He encouraged the students to study hard, think independently, and serve as envoys for China-India friendship.

China and India have a combined population of 2.5 billion, said Wen, adding that friendship and cooperation between the two countries will influence Asia and make a global impact.

During an evening banquet hosted by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Wen said that recent years had witnessed enriched contents of the Sino-Indian relations, whose influence is on the rise.

Wen said the relationship between China and India not only benefits the two peoples, but also is of great significance to peace and development in Asia and the world as a whole.

He noted that the year 2010 marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India.

He expressed the hope that his visit would promote mutual trust and push for greater development in bilateral cooperation and exchanges in various areas, raising the Sino-Indian strategic and cooperative partnership to a new level.

Singh said India attaches great importance to relations with China and cherishes friendship with the Chinese people.

He expressed the belief that through concerted efforts by both sides, the visit by Premier Wen would become a new milestone in the history of the development of bilateral ties.

The Chinese premier will also attend events marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-India diplomatic ties, and meet with Indian people from various circles, before concluding his tour on Friday.

Wen will go to Pakistan after his stay in India.

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