Chinese leaders showed commitment to boosting ties: President

Shanghai, May 29 (IANS) Visiting Indian President Pratibha Patil Saturday said the Chinese leaders’ commitment to strengthening ties with India was evident in her interactions with them over the past two days and urged the Indian diaspora to act as a bridge between the two nations.

‘At Beijing over the past two days, I have had wide-ranging and constructive discussions with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders. Their commitment to strengthening India-China ties was evident in all our interactions,’ the president said in her address to the small Indian community in China’s booming business capital that is hosting giant Expo 2010.

Patil, who is on a six-day visit to China, said her visit coincides with the 60th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

‘In recent years, our bilateral ties have expanded and diversified considerably. India and China enjoy a thriving trade and economic relationship, vibrant cultural ties and also greater people-to-people exchanges. That many of you are living in Shanghai testifies to this fact,’ the president told the Indian community.

There are about 25,000 Indians – mainly professionals and students – living in China.

She said the two countries ‘work closely on many global issues including climate change, international financial and economic matters at the G-20 and at the Doha Round of global trade negotiations’.

Recalling the cultural Festival of India in China, organised by India, Patil said: ‘I understand that it has been very well received and has given the people of China an insight into our rich heritage.’

‘Our participation at the Shanghai Expo 2010, is also an integral part of our outreach to the Chinese people, which allows us to project our values and ethos,’ the president said.

She said Shanghai represents the profound transformation underway in China.

‘It embodies the opportunities that China’s spectacular growth offers to the world, including enterprising people from India. You have shared in and actively contributed to this growth story. It is therefore appropriate that I meet the Indian community in China in its most global city – Shanghai,’ the president said.

She said the Indian community in Shanghai through their work and life has become the messenger of India-China friendship.

Describing them as ‘modern day Dharmaratnas and Kumarajeevas’ (ancient Indians monk-scholars who were well-known in China for their work there), she said it is up to them ‘that the task of carrying forward our lasting traditions of friendship has been bequeathed’.

The president said the Buddhist temple built with Indian assistance and dedicated to the Chinese people early Saturday by her, ‘will be a lasting symbol of friendship between our two countries’.

‘Tomorrow, it will be my honour to unveil here in Shanghai, a bust of Gurudev Tagore – a poet, writer, scholar, painter, philosopher and the author of our national anthem,’ she said.

The president reminded the Indian community in China that they have ‘a special responsibility of creating goodwill and functioning as a bridge between our two nations.’

‘Your interactions with the local people and your achievements here in China, will shape perceptions about India. I am confident that you will bear this in mind and like other Indian overseas communities, present the very best face of India,’ Patil said.

She also appreciated the contribution made by the overseas Indian community to the progress of India.

‘Overseas Indians are known in their host countries as law abiding, hard working and friendly. While they retain close contacts with the motherland, they also make a mark in the country they make home,’ the president said.