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Sunday, May 28, 2023

“India and China promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges at SCO meeting in Goa”

by Bikash Kali Das (Dr Das)

India’s External Affairs Minister, H.E S Jaishankar, met with his Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, on Thursday to discuss the importance of resolving the border dispute between the two countries. Jaishankar emphasized that peaceful and tranquil border areas are essential for the normalization of bilateral ties. The two diplomats also discussed issues relating to the SCO, G20, and BRICS.

This meeting follows Qin Gang’s visit to India in March to attend a meeting of G20 foreign ministers, during which Jaishankar conveyed to his Chinese counterpart that the state of India-China relations is “abnormal” because of the ongoing border dispute. On April 27, India’s Defense Minister, Rajnath Singh, also emphasized the importance of resolving all frontier issues in accordance with existing agreements during his meeting with Li Shangfu, China’s Defense Minister, on the sidelines of the SCO defence ministers’ conclave.

India has consistently maintained that its relationship with China should be based on “three mutuals” – mutual respect, mutual sensitivity, and mutual interests. During this may visit, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, along with Vice FM Sun Weidong, and Madam Ma Jia, Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in India, met with relatives of Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis (Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis memorial committee), India-China friendship organizations and representatives of Chinese and Indian youths in Goa. They also visited the photo exhibition of Dr Kotnis’ life with his relatives.

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Dr. Kotnis was a doctor from Sholapur in Maharashtra who came to China in 1938 as part of a five-member team of Indian doctors sent to help the Chinese people during World War II. He joined the Communist Party in 1942 and became the first president of the Bethune International Peace Hospital. He died at the age of 32 in the same year. A bronze statue of Dr. Kotnis, known in China as Ke Dihua, was unveiled at the medical school in Shijiazhuang in September 2020, and there are memorials of him in both Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, and Tangxian county where he once worked.

In his address, Qin Gang highlighted the importance of youth exchange programs between China and India and their role in promoting bilateral ties. He stressed that the young people of China and India are the main force for the development of their two countries and that the friendship between the two nations should be passed on from generation to generation.

In conclusion, the meeting between Jaishankar and Qin Gang shows that the two countries are committed to resolving their differences and promoting peaceful relations. The emphasis on people-to-people exchange programs, particularly youth exchange programs, is a positive step towards strengthening bilateral ties and promoting mutual understanding between the two nations. The story of Dr. Kotnis, who dedicated his life to serving the Chinese people, serves as a symbol of the longstanding friendship between China and India.

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