18:51 GMT +323 September 2019
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    Indian President Pranab Mukherjee

    Indian President Lauds China-India Relations in Beijing Address

    © AFP 2019 / SERGEI GAPON
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    China and India were formerly the most prosperous ancient civilizations in the world and the two must strive to recreate those days

    President Pranab Mukherjee told a gathering of academicians and other experts at Beijing University that, “As far back as the 6th Century, seats of higher learning like Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri had drawn scholars and cultivated contacts and academic exchanges with famed institutions of other countries in the region and beyond. Takshashila was, in a sense, the most ‘connected’ of the Indian universities, a meeting ground of four civilizations – Indian, Persian, Greek and Chinese.”

    In a way that set the tone for engagement between the two countries at the highest level being held this week.

    His high praise for Takshashila, a town in Rawalpindi, Pakistan also gives a sense that what the Chinese see as South Asia was once the Indian sub-continent and can again be considered so if Beijing and New Delhi make the requisite effort to take part in each other’s growth story.

    Mukherjee said that China’s geostrategic obsession with Pakistan, that has even influenced Moscow in recent times needs calibration. As India’s western neighbor suffers from serious political dysfunction that can only be tackled by Beijing, the “all weather friend.” There is a need for Beijing to take on board India’s concerns about its safe havens for India-centric terrorist groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba anmd Hizbul Mujaheedin.

    While on the other hand, a China-India-Russia axis, bolstered by the addition of Iran, can be a formidable combination which could create of regional structure of co-prosperity. This can then evolve into an alliance that creates a new global order that will seek to take focus away from Western militarism, said Mukherjee.

    A glimpse of that has been witnessed in the formation of the New BRICS Development Bank and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that challenge the hegemony of the World Bank and the IMF. The Chinese worldview prohibits nation-building exercises in countries where they invest.

    Another example is  Russia’s recent action of withdrawing most of its warplanes deployed in Syria immediately after its strategists felt that its mission was accomplished, according to Mukherjee.

    ​In other words, the global narrative is moving away from the relatively declining Western politico-economic ideas and forces, to the East where the cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) and aggregated population is much larger than the combined respective figures of the US and European Union combined.


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