[India], Feb. 27 (ANI): Keen to take bilateral cooperation in tourism, education, and culture to the next level, India and China are likely to ink a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will result in the Union Territory of Puducherry and China's Dali Prefecture working to realise and exploit economic and commercial potential.
This was disclosed by both Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and Chen Jian, Secretary of Committee of the CPC of Dali Prefecture and chairman of the Dali People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries here on Monday.
Both said that they are very keen for Puducherry and Dali to be "Sister Cities" in terms of exploiting economic and cultural potential in the short and long term.
They were speaking with media on the sidelines of B2B meeting of Indian and Chinese businessmen organised by the Sino-Indian JV World Vision Travels.
Jian said that he was looking forward to a time when Dali and Puducherry can share and exploit business potential in items such as walnuts, tobacco, beef, mutton wind energy, minerals, livestock and agriculture.
"Dali's location is strategic and is known for being the hub of ancient "Shu Hindu Road" and "Tea Horse Road". Shuyundudao is important path starting from Dali, Baoshan and Dehong then directing to India and called Silk Rroad in the southwest mainland," he added.
He also said that it was a matter of pride to have over 800 Indian students studying at Dali University since 2005.
"Dali is now looking forward to building a Friend-City relationship with India's Puducherry to promote and deepen exchange and cooperation between the two sides," he added.
He also said that India and China must work closely for bilateral ties, strengthen exchange, and conduct extensive trade and investment in fields such as agriculture, tourism, culture, education, science and technology, and healthcare.
"It is our great mission to create a bright future for Dali and New Delhi," he said, adding, "We firmly believe that through the combined efforts of our two governments and local communities, the exchange and cooperation between Dali and New Delhi will surely bring many new opportunities and allow great progress for the benefit of our citizens."
Irfan Alam of the non-government India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC), said cultural cooperation plays a very critical role in bilateral relationships.
"If we are close culturally, it certainly helps in developing an economic and trade relationship. India and China are naturally a pair of sister countries. Their similarities and their associations are great, numerous, and intimate. We have been good friends and good neighbours for 2000 years. . and it is only through strong and sustained interactions across the entire breadth of culture that we can really reclaim our identities," Alam said.
"In the last decade, our relations have expanded significantly in both scope and intensity. Both sides have attached great importance to cooperation on a wide range of issues with people-to-people exchanges forming an important aspect of our bilateral relations. The two sides recognise the importance of expanding such contacts, thereby contributing towards enhanced mutual understanding. We are now beginning to move into a relationship that has more content, contact and comfort. Both nations are focused on the opportunities in the future," he added.
The event was also attended by China's Minister Counsellor in India Li Bijian. (ANI)