Enough space for India, China to grow together: Patil

Onboard Air India One, May 31: President Pratibha Patil Monday said there is “enough space in the world for India and China to grow together” and their relationship has “a global dimension.”

She emphasised that China “understands” and “supports” India’s desire for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council.

Patil said this on board her special aircraft Air India One in a statement issued at the end of her six-day official visit to Beijing, Luoyang and Shanghai.

“I focused attention on India’s aspiration for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council. President Hu (Jintao) and Premier Wen (Jiabao) were understanding and supportive of India’s desire,” she told reporters.

She said President Hu also reiterated support for India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for 2011-2012.

“My interaction with the Chinese leadership was warm, friendly and cordial. Our discussions were constructive, wide-ranging and fruitful. We agreed to expand, deepen and diversify the strategic and cooperative partnership between our countries,” added Patil.

Both sides also pointed out that relations between the two Asian powers were of global import.

“We acknowledged that the India-China relationship has gone beyond its purely bilateral aspect and also has a global dimension,” Patil said, adding that the commitment of the Chinese leadership to strength the ties was evident in all her meetings.

“In my discussions with the Chinese leadership, I stressed that there is enough space in the world for India and China to grow together. Naturally, we discussed how our two countries can cooperate with each other as we meet the developmental aspirations of our peoples,” she added.

Patil said that at the time of her departure from New Delhi, she had said that the objective of her visit “was to increase trust, friendship and understanding between India and China. My programme in China was geared towards this end. I believe, I have accomplished these goals”.

The president said she expressed her desire to work with China in meeting the bilateral trade target of $60 billion in 2010.

Apart from business relationship between the two Asian giants, the president said she also highlighted the cultural contacts between the two nations.

She said she had suggested that the two governments should expand people-to-people contacts. “We can do so through greater cultural exchanges, tourism, educational linkages and scientific projects,” she said.

In this context, she cited the fact that she inaugurated the Indian-style Buddhist temple at Luoyang, the ancient Chinese city, and had unveiled the bust of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Shanghai.

“I hope the temple will encourage young people from our countries to step up contacts between us in the present age. The Tagore bust, I unveiled in Shanghai, should be an inspiration for joint activities as we commence marking his 150th birth anniversary,” she added.

“After my visit to China and my meetings with the Chinese leadership, I am convinced that there is great potential for growth in India-China relations. All of us, whether in government or in civil society, must contribute to this effort. I believe my successful visit to China has been a step in this direction,” she added.