India & The World

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Building Relationships

India and China’s relationship can be metaphorically equated to the sturdy Himalayas which also happen to be one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Earliest records of India and China’s relationship date back to 2nd Century BC. We have come a long way since then interacting with and sharing each other’s culture, technical know-hows and building trade relations.

Even though there is huge history of contact between India and China, formal diplomatic relations were set up in 1950. By the way of being the top two countries ranked one after other with highest population in the world, India and China are termed as land of immense opportunities, resources and minds. Together both the countries can work to build a better future with their bilateral ties, cultural & educational exchanges and shift the global power centre to Asia from the America and Europe.

Cultural Exchanges

Buddhism is at the helm of the increasing transcultural relationship between India and China. There are references from 2nd Century AD of Emperors’ dreaming of Buddha as a white pigeon or a golden deity riding on a golden horse coming from the western heaven India, which made them revere Buddhism. Even though highly adopted in 21st century, practices of Buddhism in China can be seen in religion & spiritual practices, translated scriptures and architecture as early as 1st century AD.

Imprints of Buddhism can be seen in the buddha statues installations, caves & carvings in Chinese grottoes and temples. Bodhgaya temple in India has been an inspiration for the Five pagoda temple (Wuta, Si) in Beijing, which also has engravings in Sanskrit. The very first buddhist temple to be built in China was in AD 75, White horse temple (Baima Si), Luoyang. The legend has it that two buddhist two monks KashyapaMatanga and Dharmaratna, riding on a white horse from India delivered the Buddhist sutras to Luoyang and hence the name of the temple. White Horse Temple complex was also built and inaugurated in May 2010 by the then president Prathibha Patil during her visit to China.

Shaolin temple was established in 6th century AD by Buddhist Monk of Indian origin, Bodhidharma which became a centre for Chinese martial arts and zen buddhism. Dr. Kotnis Memorial, Shijiazhuang houses the grave of Dr. Kotnis (Ke Dihua) who had visited China during China-Japan war in 1938 with a team of doctors to provide medical assistance. He has said to have set an example of India-China relationship through his dedication in serving Chinese people through his medical profession. Tagore Museum, Hangzhou is a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore who visited China in 1924. He has been given a Chinese name – Zhu Zhendan with literal translation being Indian Sandalwood. Sandalwood signifies spiritualism, calm & peace. A lot of Tagore’s work have been translated into Chinese. India China cultural society was also set up post Rabindranath Tagore’s visit.

The history goes on to suggest that many Chinese scholars, monks and pilgrims travelled to India and lived in the country for years. Fa Xian (Fa-Hsien, AD 399-414), visited India in AD 402, stayed for 10 years, and after his return translated many Sanskrit, Buddhist texts into Chinese. Xuan Zang (Hiuen Tsang)’s Journey to India in 7th century AD is a well narrated lore in China and written in a book called “A Journey to the West”. He had visited India when it was under the rule of Harsha Vardhana in search of Buddhist texts.

In 2007, Xuanzang memorial was inaugurated at Nalanda. In 2008, Joint stamps were released one depicting the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya and another depicting White Horse temple at Luoyang. Swami Vivekananda also visited China in 1893 and commented on its mighty and illustrious future. Indian art, music & culture are actively promoted in China by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre. Many cultural events, shows, movie screenings are regularly held and are quite popular amongst Chinese nationals. 

Indian movies register great success in China. Aamir Khan starrer Lagaan was the first Indian film to be released nation wide in China. India and China have also entered an agreement to co-produced movies and released “Xuan Zang” in 2016 and went on to become it’s official entry in 89th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Jackie Chan starrer “Kungfu Yoga” and “Buddies in India” were also released in 2017.

Yoga classes are also promoted by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre and are actively pursued by Chinese. Infact, China was one of the co-sponsors to the UN resolution when June 21 was declared as the International Yoga Day.


Indo-China Trade Relationships

Albeit all the tensions between the two nations, there are plentitudes of opportunities which can lead to mutually beneficial trade exchanges for both the countries. China has been one of India’s largest goods trading partner. To quote a few figures, in 2018 bilateral trade between India and China stood at US$ 95.7 Billion and in 2019 (Jan-Nov) it stood at  US$ 84.32 Billion. Even through the figures went down by 3.72% due to unavoidable political conditions, they go on to show the immense potential the trade corridors of the two countries have.

As per the Ministry of Commerce of China, Chinese investments in India between January-September 2019 were about US$0.19 billion and Cumulative Chinese investment in India till the end of September 2019 amounted to US$5.08 billion. List of India’s import from China include electric machinery, sound equipments, television equipments and their parts, nuclear reactors, boilers, organic chemicals, plastics & articles, articles of Iron & steel to name a few. While India’s export list includes natural pearls, precious stones & metals, cotton and more.

We at CREAT foundation trust do our part in getting the Indian and Chinese businessmen together on one platform, aiding them with assistance to connect & network with each other and discuss potential business opportunities.

“ The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to excellence. ”
~ Confucius

Education Exchange

India and China have always been educating each other in technical know hows and literary works. It is said while Indian taught China how to make cane sugar in 5th century AD, Paper was introduced to India by China in 2nd Century AD. It is also said that the Buddhist culture from India which is widely followed in China may have promoted linguistics in terms of phonology, syntax and lexicography. Indian astronomy, calendar and traditional medicine have been actively practised in China.

A few notable initiatives which shaped the educational exchange between the two countries include Xu Jishang teaching Indian philosophy at Peking University in 1916, National School of Oriental Languages being established in 1942 in Yunnan offering first time a course in Hindi language, along with Indian history, religion and society, Department of Oriental Languages being established in Peking University in 1946. While these prove active efforts to introduce Indian language and culture as a part of Chinese education, simultaneous efforts were also being made in India.

Rabindra Nath Tagore during his visit to China, forged strong relationships with notable scholars and intellectuals. He went on to set up a centre for the study of China and Chinese civilisation in his Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan in Bengal. International Academy of Indian Culture located in New Delhi was another institution that engaged in China studies. India-China education exchange program (EEP) which was signed in 2006 is for educational cooperation between the two nations, under which 25 students each are provided with scholarships.