By Guocai Tang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai
Views expressed here are personal
2020 is a year of outstanding challenges and has a far-reaching impact in human history. Towards the end of the year, the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China adopted the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. This is extremely significant to sound and sustainable development and long-time stability for not only China, but also the neighboring region including India as well as the entire world. The following points are particularly worth noticing:
“Dual Circulation”: self-reliance plus opening-up
“Dual circulation” is one of the hottest catchwords of the conference. China will speed up the construction of its large domestic circle as main form, promote a new structure of domestic and international dual circulation development, with a focus on high quality. In the past, the market and resources of China’s economy were both reliant on the outside. In recent years, anti-globalization winds are accelerating, and some countries are pursuing unilateralism and protectionism. Under such circumstances, we must set feet and rely more on the domestic market to boost economic development. On the other hand, China’s dual circulation strategy is by no means based on a closed-door domestic economic circle. For example, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) brings light and hope to people amid challenges. China is also seeking to participate in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). China has sent a clear signal that its self-reliant strategy will usher in wider opening-up to the outside world.
India is also emphasizing self-reliance, which coincides with China’s policy. It must be pointed out that independent development and opening-up are not contradictory. Opening-up contributes to further development, while close-door policy will definitely lead to backwardness. China’s anti-pandemic achievements and the “dual circulation” development structure will bring about great motivation for quick recovery and sustainable economic development of India and the whole region. It is expected that India seize the opportunity with an open mind and share the fruits of China’s high quality economic development. China has always remained open and positive towards closer economic cooperation with India and has started to import large quantity of Indian rice (basmati rice) recently. We do hope that India shall act in the same direction, provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for investors from all the countries including China, and actively integrate in regional cooperation.
Returning to multilateralism is the trend of the times
Multilateralism has been the loud and firm demand of the international community including China and India. The fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee clearly declares that China will pursue multilateralism, oppose to unilateral bullying, and work for a community of mankind with a shared future. President Xi Jinping recently reiterated in BRICS, APEC, G20 summits that China stands up for equity and justice in the world, endeavors to safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, champions the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
Frankly speaking, with the ending of the super turbulent election of a certain super power, the external elements hijacking China-India relations have largely been reduced. Facts have proven that proclaiming extreme nationalism, stigmatizing China, attempting to besiege China, hyping the border issues and instigating disharmony between China and India, will inevitably be punished by the people and history. During the 19th meeting the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the SCO member countries hosted by India recently, the SCO members reached many important consensus on pragmatic cooperation, unanimously agreed to promote “Shanghai spirit”, and work together for regional development and stability – a very welcoming development.
Serving the people, putting life first
China has consistently stressed that the safety of people’s lives and health be the first priority, and all efforts should be made to promote the control of the COVID-19 epidemic. However, some Western politicians have sacrificed thousands of people’s lives for election politics and self-interest. President Xi Jinping said in the BRICS summit that Chinese enterprises are cooperating with Russian and Brazilian partners to carry out phase III clinical trials of vaccines. We are also willing to conduct relevant cooperation with India. China has officially joined COVAX. China and India are the most populous as well as the largest developing countries in the world. We also have the greatest responsibility to control the epidemic, thus we must work together to practice the concept of putting people first and cherishing life. In fact, with the effective control of the epidemic in China, growing numbers of India citizens are trying to return to China for business and studies. At the same time, many Chinese enterprises and students in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore have overcome difficulties and restrictions and work for local development. This shows great resilience and conviction of our peoples. Facing the epidemic, Jackie Chan and Amir Khan have recorded videos respectively and cheered up the people of China and India, which best translates the friendship of our people.
Focusing on the long run and opening a new chapter
China’s 14th five-year plan and the objectives through the year 2035 fully highlight foresight and solid prudence, and commit to mutual benefits with the international community. Similarly, India is aiming to achieve the $5 trillion GDP goal by 2025. Maharashtra has also formulated the Vision 2030 plan. China and India are both ancient civilizations and share common wisdom and philosophy, such as harmony in diversity and sharing weal and woe. The epidemic will eventually be over. Whether in the past, present, or future, China and India are interdependent in promoting development and safeguarding people’s livelihoods.
We might have missed many opportunities in 2020. Let us cherish and work harder in the new year. 2021 is crucial for the world to walk out of the epidemic and get back on track. In the past year, China bashing might have once prevailed in the media, but in the new year, China study and cooperation shall prevail. China and India have just commemorated the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties, and we sincerely hope that bilateral relations will open a fresh page in the new year. Mumbai, Maharashtra and the southwest coast are the economic center and cultural hub of India as well as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Against the backdrop of the epidemic, Maharashtra is still gaining momentum in attracting investment and its development continues to take the lead in India. Let us stand firm on the soil, join hands with the people, and push China-India local cooperation to take new lead. The true colors of our two great nations are as bight as rainbows, and will shine through the rains with new vitality.