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Forum pins higher hopes on think tanks for deeper China-India ties

Author  :  ZHANG JUNRONG     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-07-12

A recent forum on China-India cooperation called on think tanks of the two countries to play a bigger role in strategic interconnectivity, bilateral trade and investment cooperation, peopleto-people exchanges, and science and technology.

The second China-India ThinkTank Forum: China-India Strategic Cooperation and Developmental Partnership was held from June 24 to 25 in Beijing. It was co-sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

In his speech, CASS President Wang Weiguang stressed that China and India complement each other strongly in terms of economic structure. China, a major destination for manufacturing outsourcing, has been dubbed the “world’s factory” while India, a popular destination for back-office and services outsourcing, is regarded as the “world’s office,” he said.

In recent years, the China-India relationship has entered a new period of rapid growth, Wang said, noting that from 2006 to 2015, commodity trade between the two countries nearly tripled.

Highlighting the drastic changes underway in human society and the variety of emerging technologies, Wang said that China and India, as major developing countries and emerging markets, are two significant forces driving world multipolarization.

At the new starting point, China-India ties require stronger bilateral cooperation, especially greater contributions from think tanks, Wang said.

Nalin Surie, secretary-general of the Indian Council of World Affairs, said that the global focus is being shifted from the West to the East. India and China face similar developmental problems and have common objectives, which highlights the need to cooperate more closely, Surie said.

India and China have cooperated within quite a few multilateral international frameworks, and India became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in early June. Think tanks of the two nations are duty-bound to seek more cooperation opportunities, Surie said.

The India-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral partnerships in the world, said Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale, adding that cooperation in the social and economic fields has huge untapped potential.

Think tanks of the two nations should engage in larger-scale and more frequent exchanges to facilitate the healthy development of the India-China relationship, Gokhale said.

Hang Yuanxiang, chairman of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, appealed to think tanks to jointly advance the institutionalization of China-India cultural and educational exchanges, thereby making new, greater contributions to strengthening the peopleto-people bond between the two sides.

With the combined population of the two countries accounting for more than one-third of the world’s total and their combined GDP accounting for more than one-fifth, China and India are unleashing great growth vitality, functioning as the sources of global growth and stabilizers of a sustainable world economy, said Huang Qunhui, director of the Institute of Industrial Economics at CASS.

Huang expressed the hope that the forum can pool the wisdom of experts from think tanks of the two sides and encourage communication between different civilizations and development models.

The China-India Think-Tank Forum was instituted in May 2015, when CASS and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs inked a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi. It is an annual forum to be held in turn between China and India. The first forum took place in New Delhi, capital of India, in December 2016.

Editor: Yu Hui

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