Even as China and India signed 50 deals totalling US$16 billion, and promised growth in bilateral trade to US$100 billion by 2015, media reports on both sides of the Himalaya’s were starkly different. Reflecting the sentiment each country felt towards the other, newspapers, Tv interviews, blogs and online forums echoed drastically different views of the Wen-Singh talks.
While Chinese online and offline media hailed Premiere Wen’s visit to India quoting him as telling his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, on Thursday to “seize the opportunity” to expand the countries’ mutual interests, adding that the giant Asian neighbors were “at a crucial stage of development,” Indian media denounced the talks saying the Chinese weren’t keen on resolving Kashmir, visa and Pakistan issues that were lurking over the talks. While Xinhua, the Chinese state newswire carried a glowing image of Premier Wen and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confidently shaking hands with the title – ‘Chinese premier, Indian PM reach consensus on bilateral, international issues’, India’s largest read English daily, the Times of India, which has barely carried much on Sino-Indian relations as compared to the Obama visit controversially titled their piece ‘India declines to affirm ‘One China’ policy’.
Approaching the talks from two very distinct perspectives, it couldn’t be more clear that recent events, culture and political situations have shaped attitudes and perceptions very differently amongst the two nations regarding each other. It also explicitly marked the fact, that if India and China do really want to work, understand and gain from each others markets, it will take a long way in understanding and trust.