This year’s theme was ‘Economic development and poverty alleviation’

The China-India Forum, organised jointly by Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, Sichuan Province (SASS), China; International Management Institute (Delhi, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar); and Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), was held at the SASS campus in Chengdu from September 13 to 14.

The forum is held every year in two alternate venues in China and India. This year’s theme was ‘Economic development and poverty alleviation’.

The papers selected for the forum were mainly on issues such as economy, trade, poverty, investment, and business in the context of both India and China. More than 120 foreign and domestic experts and scholars from the fields of economy, society, culture, education and environment attended the forum.

Cultural and economic exchange

The opening ceremony consisted of keynote speeches delivered by Liu Jie, Vice Governor of Sichuan Province; Li Houqiang, Secretary of SASS Committee of CPC; Hou Shuiping, President of SASS; Arindam Banik, Director of IMI, Kolkata; and Parmod Kumar of ISEC. Guo Xiaoming, Vice President of SASS, presided over the ceremony.

Liu Jie remarked that China and India are both ancient civilisations with rich history and culture and were among the largest economic powers until European colonisation in the 19th century. He recalled that trade on the Silk Road had played a significant role in development. In recent times, Sichuan province has become not only the biggest central market and material distribution centre in Western China but has also turned out to be an important link of promoting economic cooperation between India and China, he added.

He noted that Sichuan and India are complementarities in trade of electric and electrical goods. Jie lauded the role of the forum for re-establishing economic cooperation, cultural exchange and cooperation at the think-tank level.

Growing friendship

Hou Shuiping, mentioning that the China-India Forum has been successfully organised since 2012, said, “SASS has pursued research on India for a long time, and this has shown many fruitful results.” He expects the forum will contribute to academic exchanges and the growth of friendship between the two countries.

Arindam Banik, in his keynote speech, mentioned that India and China are naturally sister countries. Their similarities and their associations are great, numerous, and intimate. He observed that both the countries’ key objectives are essentially the same: to enable domestic transformations by accelerating growth, preserving strategic autonomy, protecting people and responsibly helping shape the world. He added that this cannot be achieved by conflict, but only through co-operation.

He said: “The world as we know today will undergo major changes by the middle of this century. Countries that are slow to respond will have to make room for others that can move quicker, and innovation will be the key differentiating factor. In the long term, it may even be possible for some economies to survive only on the basis of their capital or technology, but labour alone may be unable to provide this sustenance. By bringing a large part of the population to the economic marketplace, the two nations may set free their innovation potential, which has so far not found any route to reach the market. When this happens, the region will surely be a different place with many more possibilities.”

Wide-ranging topics

Scholars from China and India presented papers on two broad themes: ‘Economy, trade and poverty alleviation’ and ‘China-India exchange — history and culture’, at two simultaneous sessions covering four topics. First, the relationship of economic development and poverty alleviation in China and India; second, China-India economic relationship under the background of trade protectionism; third, the economy and society of China and India, including social governance, tax system, infrastructure development policy, urbanisation, and banking sector reform; fourth, issues such as cultural exchange, trade and tourism of China and India.

The next India-China Forum will be held in September 2018.