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‘China, India can complement each other while competing’

Beijing, May 14  As Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his three-day official visit to China, a leading daily here said in an opinion piece that the two countries can gain much if they pursue a position complemantary towards each other, shedding the distrust they share mutually.

“Anyone with some geopolitical knowledge understands what revolutionary changes would happen to the political and economic landscape in Asia if China and India can join hands to forge ahead,” the Global Times said in an article titled “China and India Can Complement Each Other”.

“But the people are also aware that there seems always to be a lack of mutual trust between the dragon and the elephant,” said the Global Times, which is an English language newspaper of China’s state-patronised People’s Daily.

The article coincided with Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China that began at Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province and the hometown of President Xi Jinping, that will be followed by visits to Beijing and Shanghai.

The article conceded that there were, indeed, some unsustainable factors in the trade structures of China and India, like in the case of textiles where the two countries enjoy the status of top two global exporters.

“To tackle them, the two countries must devise and expand complementarity of their industries,” it said, while also spelling out some examples of how the two sides can provide more favourable conditions for each other’s competitive industries.

“For instance, India can give Chinese telecommunication enterprises more access to local markets if China does likewise for India’s pharmaceutical companies,” it said, adding mergers and ties should be promoted in such advantageous industries as chemicals and oil refining.

The editorial, however, did not believe in the suggestions of some scholars that China could gain and relations can improve if it invests more in India’s infrastructure.

“This may prove the reverse since better transportation by rail and road will cause more concerns for India about flooding of Chinese commodities. Besides, it will likely get Chinese enterprises tangled into India’s perplexing land system, which may produce unexpected troubles.”

The daily also called upon the leaderships of the two countries and other stakeholders to learn from the experience of European Union’s integration to realise the complementary ties of their industries with well-organised competition.

“But in this process the openness of industries and markets is critical,” it said.

“In the long run, only with enhanced complementary can China and India have more cooperation and less competition. With the realignment of their industries, they can ultimately create a common market of 2.6 billion people.”