Months after a tense standoff with the Indian military near the Sikkim border, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday invoked Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore while talking about the common development of the two countries.
“China and India are neighbours that can’t be moved. There are historical facts about ancient exchanges and mutual understanding. There is hope for common development,” PLA spokesman Wu Qian said.
“I recall that when President Xi (Jinping) visited India, he told a story that more than 90 years ago, the Indian poet Tagore visited China and was warmly welcomed by the Chinese people.”
Quoting the renowned poet, Wu added: “As soon as he set foot on China’s land, Tagore said: ‘I don’t know what the reason is. To return to China is like returning to my hometown.
“My heart is here,” Wu further quoted Tagore as saying.
“It is the common wish of both peoples to stabilise the relations between the Chinese and Indian armed forces and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” he said.
Border troops from both sides were locked in a 73-day standoff at Doklam last year.
Wu acknowledged ties between the two militaries still faced “some difficulties and obstacles”, but said consensus developed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi would serve as “guidelines to deepen our understanding”.
Meanwhile, China’s commerce ministry announced on Thursday that trade with India had gone up by more than 22% in the first quarter of 2018.
“By the end of 2017, Chinese investments into India added up to more than $8 billion, as India has become an important market for infrastructure cooperation among Chinese companies and a major investment destination,” a ministry official said.
The growth continued from the upward momentum seen last year, when bilateral trade reached a record high of $84.4 billion, up 20.3% from 2016, the official added.
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