World big enough for India, China: Wen
New Delhi, December 15, 2010
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in India on Wednesday and said the world was big enough for both Asian giants to prosper as partners, not competitors.
"China and India are partners for co-operation, not rivals in competition. There is enough space in the world for the development of China and India," Wen told business leaders at the India-China Business Cooperation Summit in New Delhi.
"The fast economic growth between China and India has been an important engine for the world economy."
In remarks seen as an effort to soothe tensions between the two rivals, who still distrust each other, Wen said Chinese companies would sign deals with Indian firms worth more than $16 billion ranging from power equipment to telecoms gear.
Wen's visit is the first by a Chinese premier in five years and he brings with him more than 400 business executives. The two countries, home to more than a third of the world's population, fought a war in 1962 and relations remain uneasy despite their booming trade relationship and rising global clout.
Both have stood together to resist Western demands in world trade and climate change talks, but they have also clashed over China's close relationship with Pakistan, fears of Chinese spying and a longstanding border dispute.
"Impressive business delegations have accompanied Barack Obama and David Cameron, but when the Wen circus rolls into town with 100 of China's top tycoons, the red carpet needs to be a bit longer," said a commentary in the Hindustan Times.
"Let trade do the talking, other issues that add to the trust deficit will hopefully get addressed on the way."
Wen is the latest in a series of world leaders visiting India to seek great access to its economy, set to expand by around 9 percent in 2010/11.
US, French and Chinese leaders have clinched deals worth almost $50 billion in total with India in the past few weeks.
Wen announced more Chinese investments in India to assuage the worries of Indian politicians, peeved that the Sino-Indian trade balance is heavily in China's favour. Wen also said he would discuss with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh ways to substantially increase trade volumes and may open up the Chinese economy to Indian IT, pharmaceutical and agricultural companies.
Wen also asked India to ease restrictions on investments, capital flows and the movement of people. India's deficit with China could reach $24-25 billion this year, analysts said. The deficit rose to $16 billion in 2007-08, from $1 billion in 2001-02, according to Indian customs data.
India has sought to diversify its trade basket, but raw materials and other low-end commodities such as iron ore still make up about 60 percent of its exports to China. - Reuters