Interaction with Visiting Chinese Press Delegation
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On 2nd April, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) hosted twelve senior journalists and editors from China. These were senior editors and correspondents from reputed Chinese media outlets like the CCTV, Caixin, Global Times and The Observer. The participants were:-

• Ms. Zhang Xin, Director, International News Section GLOBAL TIMES;
• Ms. Song Shengxia, Chief Editor of English Edition, GLOBAL TIMES;
• Ms. Sun Wei, Editor & Senior Correspondent CCTV;
• Mr. Xu Heqian, Director International Desk CAIXIN;
• Ms. Qu Yunxu, Chief Editor for TMT Industry News CAIXIN;
• Mr. Xu Qian’ang, Editor THE OBSERVER;
• Ms. Xu Lei, Editor, THE OBSERVER;
• Mr. Huang Ao, Director, International Desk, Pear Video;
• Li Yuyu, Freelance Journalist;
• Xu Liang, Hostess and producer of Guangdong Radio and Television;
• Cai Minjie, Reporter, Guangdong, Branch of China News Service;
• Ms. Gu Tianli, Q Daily, Senior Correspondent.

The Chinese Press delegation visited VIF as a part of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) outreach programme for foreign countries to understand contemporary India. Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF presided over the interaction. Dr. Gupta started the interaction by mentioning that it is important that India and China have good relations.

The Indian participants stated that China is the second largest economy of the world, while India is close behind China and will soon to be the third largest economy. India over time has been performing well economically and is expected to grow between 7 percent and 7.5 percent for the year 2018-19. Dr. Gupta also placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that India and China need to work together to remove the misconceptions about each other’s intentions, and further on, it is important for both to understand each other better. For that to happen the media of both countries have to play an important role.

While addressing economic relations between the two nations, Indian participants said that better contacts between Indian states and Chinese provinces would improve economic relations. The Indian Trade Fair has become popular with the Chinese Government and investors. But there are areas in economic relations between India and China which are not as beneficial for India as it is for China. Trade between the two countries favours China significantly. Areas where Chinese investments were supposed to come in have not materialised. However, Chinese investments have poured in e-commerce. Chinese companies in India should therefore manufacture in India and consider importing from India.

Defence spending of both China and India are always seen with suspicion by each other, and during the interaction few Chinese journalists did enquire about India’s defence spending. The Indian representatives clarified that India’s defence budget is 1.49 percent of the GDP which is the lowest since 1962. China’s defence budget meanwhile has grown to be the second largest in the world and stands at around USD 180 billion. Very few details about the Chinese defence budget are however available and that leads to many concerns.

The visiting Chinese journalists enquired about the direction of Indian Foreign Policy as far as China was concerned because of India’s rejection of joining the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), India’s apparent growing closeness to the United States of the America (The US), Japan and Australia, and the emergence of the ‘Quad’. The Indian participants clarified that Quad was not a military alliance but a cooperative partnership on which nothing concrete has happened so far. While addressing the question as to why India won’t join the BRI, it was pointed out that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the BRI goes through disputed territory on which India has legal sovereignty claims. On this, China has not been helpful in acknowledging India’s concerns. This was evident since the announcement of the project was made without consultations with India. The Indian representatives also added that the ‘all weather’ friendship between China and Pakistan was a cause of worry for India.

The Chinese journalists were curious about the role of Indian soft power in China. Reflecting on the success of Indian movies like 3 Idiots, Dangal and Secret Superstar they were curious to know how India is working towards spreading its soft power in China. However, it was asserted that the Indian movies are private ventures and their success in China is not a result of the Indian government’s policies or planning.

While India and China have their issues, they have always had independent foreign policies and also co-operate on various forums like the BRICS, Shanghai Co-operation (SCO), and the tri-lateral meetings of India, Russia and China.

The meeting concluded with the Indian participants assuring the visiting Chinese Press Delegation that India was willing to expand its co-operation with China on the basis of reciprocity and mutual gain.

Event Date: 
April 2, 2018