Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

High-level visits define Sino-Indian ties

By Parama Sinha Palit (China Daily) Updated: 2013-10-21 07:11

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three-day visit to Beijing from Oct 22, following the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to New Delhi in May, is the first instance of reciprocal visits by the two heads of government in the same year since 1954. China's first premier, Zhou Enlai, and India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited India and China in the same year, that is, in 1954.

Singh's visit is expected to set the stage for enhanced bilateral engagement between the two countries with key regional and bilateral issues figuring on his agenda. India figures in China's new "major-nation diplomacy" - an initiative launched by the new leadership after taking office in March 2013 - with China being keen on strengthening ties with its western neighbor.

High-level visits define Sino-Indian ties

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh prior to the 8th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Oct 10, 2013. [Photo / Xinhua]

High-level and state visits have been acting as major confidence-building measures between the two countries for a long time. India established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China barely six months after it was established in October 1949. But even before the two countries forged diplomatic ties, Nehru, as a young Congress leader, visited China in the fall of 1939. The visit was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. Keeping the tradition alive in the last few years, high-level visits between China and India have picked up sharply and have become an important diplomatic tool in enhancing bilateral relations.

In an interconnected and globalized world, cooperation is often necessary and a pragmatic choice over confrontation. Such necessity has motivated China and India to increase their engagement with each other. Both governments have been increasingly active in this regard with economics and trade being the major factors behind their engagement.

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