India ties flourish as trade soars
Sino-Indian relations are looking better than ever because the two giants are focusing on common interests - making money - rather than bickering about the past, according to India's ambassador to China, Shivshankar Menon.
'Today, we engage across the entire range of issues and areas that form state-to-state relations,' said Mr Menon, who is fluent in Putonghua and is one of India's top China experts.
'What this means is that trade, science and technology exchanges, tourism and other normal exchanges take place between India and China, as between any two neighbours and large states, and are continuing to grow.
'Over 10 per cent of India's exports now go to greater China. The corollary of this shift is that the salience in the relationship of those political issues that used to divide us is no longer what it was in the past.'
Mr Menon made the comments yesterday to a gathering of Indian business executives in Hong Kong.
Although two-way trade is small - last year it was US$4.6 billion (HK$35.7 billion), a fraction of Sino-US trade - it is growing in double digits. Mr Menon said the countries were on track to achieve the target US$10 billion total two-way trade mentioned by Premier Zhu Rongji during a visit to India last January.
The ambassador acknowledged some in India feared the mainland's rise as a manufacturing superpower. However, he said New Delhi was confident that the two economies could develop a complementary relationship.
'How we accommodate each other as the political and economic balance changes will have a major bearing on our bilateral relationship and the geopolitical situation in the region and beyond,' said Mr Menon.