India-China friendship treaty, free trade agreement on China’s wish list: Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui


NEW DELHI: China and India should deal with their boundary dispute and move on to singing a friendship treaty and a free trade agreement, Beijing’s Ambassador to New Delhi Luo Zhaohui said on Monday. He also said that the scope of relations between India and China has grown beyond the bilateral scope and the two Asian giants find themselves on common ground at multiple international forums.

Luo’s comments came at a seminar titled ‘Beyond Wuhan: How Far and Fast Can China-India Relations Go’ in New Delhi. The tone of his comments reflected the positive turn in Chinese rhetoric against India following the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan in April.

“My four-point vision for the future of China-India cooperation is to sign a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, negotiate a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, enhance connectivity and work for early harvest on boundary issues,” he said as part of his speech at the seminar.

He also presented the ‘5Cs’ that China considers the ‘fields of priority’ for the progress of relations between India and China: communication, cooperation, contacts, coordination, and control.

Luo also underlined the evolving nature of the India-China relationship, and said the two countries are engaging with each other on a global level. “Against the backdrop of anti-globalization and rising protectionism, China and India as major emerging market economies, are faced with the pressure of established powers. We should coordinate our positions… China-India relations have gone beyond bilateral scope. We have broad converging interests and face common challenges in Asia and beyond. We need to enhance coordination and cooperation in SCO, BRICS, G20 and join hands to tackle global challenges,” Luo said.

“We need to control, manage and narrow the differences through expanding cooperation. The boundary question was left over by history. We need to find a mutual acceptable solution through Special Representatives’ Meeting while adopting confidence building measures,” he added.

Luo also pitched for increased strategic communications and frank dialogue between the two Asian giants, and attempt to convert the present bonhomie between Modi and Xi at a wider people-to-people level.

Luo’s comments reflect the change in tone that Chinese diplomats and media have made since the Modi-Xi informal summit in Wuhan. The year preceding the meet had seen threats and strong rhetoric against India from the Chinese side, especially in the wake of the Doklam standoff.

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