Beijing and New Delhi brothers facing same challenges: Tang Guocai, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai
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Recently, the Galwan Valley Incident across the China-India border has led to a massive media campaign in India and some hyper-nationalist speeches arise in public opinion. Although the Chinese side also suffered casualties, the Chinese media and self-media by and large have maintained a calmer stance and refrained from hyping it up. The latest constructive phone call between the two Special Representatives sends out important positive signal. Frankly speaking, the Sino-Indian border differences involve complex history and mutual trust issues, thus it is meaningless to simply accuse each other of intrusion, or expansionist activities. As for the various central and local governments of our two countries, the primary concern remains to fight COVID-19 and restart the economy, or development.

Open up the mind

China has no intent in fighting either a military or trade war with India, given all the rumblings in some blood-thirsty media. But taking China’s calmness as a sign of weakness will be the most unfortunate strategic miscalculation. It is precisely because of the great potential of Sino-Indian cooperation that those with vested interests in the international community are worried. What pleases them the most is Sino-Indian discord and endless fight. Both India and China must be fully aware that if we stick to the narrow thinking of "India or China", both countries will lose. If we move towards a win-win mentality of "China and India" and speak with one voice, the whole world will have to listen carefully.

No country can win the fight against COVID-19 while any other country suffers, and the international community can only overcome the challenges and achieve the final victory through solidarity. Think tanks, media and the cultural and intellectual communities from China and India should play an important role in further strengthening communication and coordination, getting rid of mutual prejudices and telling the truth to the public that getting entangled in a confrontation is harmful to both of us.

Focus on people's livelihood

Shanghai and Mumbai are the largest cities in China and India. Further promoting cooperation between the sister cities and narrating the "Tale of Two Cities" in the new era is of great significance to the stable development of India-China relations and pragmatic cooperation. I am pleased to note that the two cities are sharing experiences and good practices in the fight against the epidemic, city governance, infrastructure, emergency response and other sectors reflected in the epidemic. We should further strengthen cooperation to promote sustainable development and create a better future.

I would like to point out in particular that decoupling from China out of economic nationalism is conducive neither to the healthy development of India, nor to the well-being of the people, nor is it feasible. Any attempt to derail the bilateral trade with nearly 100 billion US dollars and the mutually beneficial economic relations between China and India runs counter to the aspirations of the peoples of the two nations and the trend of times. At the critical moment of anti-COVID-19 fight and economic recovery, we should test more for COVID-19, instead of putting the lives of our soldiers to test. China and India are brothers facing the same challenges as well as companions on the road of reform and development. We must work together to achieve coordinated economic and social development. India-China economic relations are mutually beneficial, and India will also get hurt by discriminatory practices imposed on China.

Recall of the civilisation

All politics are local. In fact, from Maharashtra to Shanghai and Jiangxi, and from Southwest India to Southeast China, our people's overriding common aspiration is to develop the economy. Our common ground is far greater than the differences as we share the same tasks in promoting economic and social development as well as improving the well-being of the people. Those western politicians provoking war between India and China just want profit from large arms sales and other commercial contracts. The death of George Floyd, triggering anti-colonial and anti-slavery waves across the world, exposes the hypocrisy of Western democracy and fully demonstrates there is still a long way ahead for mankind to pursue true liberation and freedom. Both India and China are victims of colonialism, and border issue is a scar left by the colonialists which should not be a permanent trap for China-India relations.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India. Both India and China are ancient civilisations with a long history. The idea of "unity of man and nature" and "harmony in peace" are common propositions of the traditional philosophy of China and India, and provide an important reference for us to win the final victory of the anti-epidemic fight and achieve long-term and sustainable economic and social development. Let us join hands to forge solid foundation at various local levels and expand cooperation potential in the cultural, economic and livelihood fields. May the dragon-elephant tango in the new era be filled with passion and sincerity from the heart of our people, and take the lead in building a community of shared future for mankind.

The author is Consul General of the People’s Republic of China Consulate in Mumbai. The views expressed are personal.

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