The Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari and the visiting Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi launched the India-China Year of Friendly Exchanges on 11 February 2014. The Year 2014 has been designated by the Governments of India and China as the Year of Friendly Exchanges.
The Year of Friendly Exchanges will help in forging a closer and stronger relationship between India and China.
Earlier on 24 January 2014, the Vice-President of China Li Yuanchao had launched the India-China Year of Friendly Exchanges in Beijing.
The broad contours of the India-China cultural cooperation was laid down in the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation signed in May 1988, which provides for an executive Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for implementation.
The latest CEP signed in October 2013 during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China provides for cooperation in a gamut of cultural fields including exchanges of visits of performing artists, officials, writers, archivists and archaeologists, organizing cultural festivals, film festivals and exchanges in the field of mass media, youth affairs and sports.
Other steps taken by India to forge closer and stronger relationship with China
- Encouraging Chinese companies to establish production and supply chains so as to link the two economies. This will also ensure a more balanced trade. Presently, there is a trade imbalance which is tilted in favour of China. One of the ideas, which is being looked at carefully is of a dedicated Chinese Industrial Park in India.
- The introduction of Chinese, as a language in middle schools in India. Recently, 22 Chinese teachers have come to teach at select CBSE schools across the length and breadth of India. Greater interaction between the ordinary people of two countries is a necessary condition for stronger overall bilateral relations. More tourism, greater student exchanges and enhanced interaction between Universities and Think-Tanks will help these two countries in evolving a better mutual understanding and their respective places in the world.
- The annual program in which one country is on a visit to the other country by a group of 100 young person is another example of this initiative.
- Glimpses of India is a programme which highlights Indian culture in China.
Why it is necessary to forge stronger relationship between India and China?
These types of programme are important for both India and China because both the countries are:
- Ancient civilizations. The old Silk Route which connected both the nations, helped not only to the exchange of goods and commodities but also to a flourishing interchange of ideas, values and philosophies.
- Home to followers of Buddhism. In fact, Buddhism travelled from India to China. Indians gained immeasurably from Chinese monks and scholars such as Fa Xian (Fa Hsian) and Xuan Zang (Huan Tsang) who came to India in search of Buddhist scriptures. Analysts have pointed out many common threads between Hindu and Buddhist philosophies on the one hand and Confucianism on the other.
- Pioneers in scientific inventions. The concept of zero in number system originated in India. The use of gun powder, the printing press and other technical innovations made their way outward from China.
- Developing countries and Emerging economies
- Trade partners. Greater balance in trade will ensure its sustainability.
- Neighbours and Strategic partners.