Inaugurating the media forum at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan in Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid hoped the platform would help both sides evolve "a common language of diplomacy" and give "language to ideas". He inaugurated the forum along with Cai Mingzhao, China's Minister of the State Council Information Office.

While stressing the ancient links between India and China and how it is important for both sides to evolve "close congruence", Khurshid flagged India's concerns about the boundary problems that have seen Chinese troops crossing the Line of Actual Control into India, including in Ladakh region, in April-May this year that led to a 20-day standoff between their troops.

Khurshid said that their "undefined boundary" and their differing perceptions about the 4,000-km Line of Actual Control is something that "appears from time to time to become an insurmountable problem". He added that both sides are "completely committed to eradication of these elements in a relationship that is significantly important to both of us".

He said in this context, it was important to evolve a language that would "clear the cobwebs and the misconceptions of the past, present and future". Khurshid also said that India was seeking greater market access for its IT and pharmacy products in China, a concern that India has been flagging for some times, and both sides were seeking to narrow the gap.

India's exports to China stood at USD 13.52 billion in 2012-13, while its imports were USD 54.3 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 40.78 billion. Chinese Minister Cai, terming the bilateral ties as becoming deeper and their interests becoming "more intertwined", said that India and China relationship has great potential for growth and that "friendly, pragmatic" relationship between the two nations would be like a "blessing for Asia and the world at large".

Cai said that it was important for the media of the two countries to act as a bridge and foster friendship. He proposed that the media forum become an institutionalized platform for regular exchanges between the media persons of the two sides and should be held alternatively in India and China. He also proposed that both countries station more media personnel in each other's countries, terming the current strength of media personnel as "inadequate".

While stressing that the media plays a major role in fostering bilateral relations, Cai also said that the media should be objective and factual in its reporting.

(Agencies)

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