New Delhi, Sep 16: India flagged its concerns about “differing perceptions” of an undefined boundary leading to problems “from time to time” as both sides Monday inaugurated here an India-China Media Forum for greater interaction between their media persons.
Inaugurating the media forum at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan here, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid hoped the platform would help both sides evolve “a common language of diplomacy” and give “language to ideas”. He inaugurated the forum alongwith Cai Mingzhao, China’s minister of the State Council Information Office.
While stressing the ancient links between India and China and how it is important for both sides to evolve “close congruence”, Khurshid flagged India’s concerns about the boundary problems that has seen Chinese troops crossing the Line of Actual Control into India, including in Ladakh region, in April-May this year that led to a 20-day standoff between their troops.
Khurshid said their “undefined boundary” and their differing perceptions about the 4,000-km Line of Actual Control is something that “appears from time to time to become an insurmountable problem”.
He added that both sides are “completely committed to eradication of these elements in a relationship that is significantly important to both of us”.
He said in this context, it was important to evolve a language that would “clear the cobwebs and the misconceptions of the past, present and future”.
Khurshid also said that India was seeking greater market access for its IT and pharma products in China, a concern that India has been raising for some times, and both sides were seeking to narrow the gap.
India’s exports to China stood at $13.52 billion in 2012-13, while its imports from China were $54.3 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $40.78 billion.
Cai, terming the bilateral ties as becoming deeper and their interests becoming “more intertwined”, said India and China relationship has great potential for growth and that “friendly, pragmatic” relationship between the two nations would be like a “blessing for Asia and the world at large”.
Cai said he has worked with Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily, the two most famous media organisations in China, for more than 20 years.
He said it was important for the media of the two countries to act as a bridge and foster friendship.
He proposed that the media forum become an institutionalised platform for regular exchanges between the media persons of the two sides and should be held alternatively in India and China.
Both countries must station more media personnel in each other’s countries, he said, terming the current strength of media personnel as “inadequate”.
While stressing that the media plays a major role in fostering bilateral relations, Cai said the media should be fair and objective in their reporting.
China expert Srikanth Kondapalli said the media forum was a “positive momentum for developing communication between the two sides”.
Kondapalli, chairperson of Centre for East Asian Studies, told IANS that a “main dissonance” in the endeavour was the structure of Chinese and Indian journalism. While in China it is state-backed, in India 99 percent is privately owned, the expert pointed out.
“In India, the media acts as an ombudsman, while in China media acts as the mouthpiece, thereby the Chinese journalists are linked to the establishment, so there is a structural problem,” he said.