Asia, and the world, would have better futures “if Chinese and Indian youth walk hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder.” – Premier Wen Jiabao, Great Hall of the People, addressing a 500 member Indian youth delegation, September, 2011.
Breaking protocol for official events which are usually tightly choreographed by Chinese authorities, interacting with the youth and encouraging greater camaraderie between the youth of China and India, Premier Wen told the 500 member Indian delegation “I believe the youth of the two countries, with vision and ambition, will have a profound understanding of the strategic significance of China-India relations, and develop an even firmer conviction to have peace and win-win cooperation.”
The delegation composed of urban and rural youth, artisans, social service workers, engineers and young politicians was led by Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ajay Maken. Marking 2011 as the year for India-China youth exchanges, on the invitation of Premier Wen, the 500 member delegation is on a 10 day visit of China and will travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, where they will visit companies and interact with Chinese youth. A 500-member Chinese youth delegation is also slated to visit India later in the year.
“China and India have similar national realities and experiences,” Wen said. “We have splendid civilisations that have both suffered trials and tribulations in history.” He drew a parallel between the Chinese civilisation’s origins in the Yellow river and India’s links to the Ganges. “Thousands of years long intermingling of great rivers of history have an impact on human civilisation,” he said.
“The future of China-India ties is in the hands of the youth,” Mr. Wen said. “We need wisdom and courage [drawn] from our rich history and cultural heritage, to continue to make relations healthier and to work harder to make our countries better places to live.”