Beijing, January 27 – As US President Barack Obama continued his bonhomie with India and unveiled plans to deepen strategic ties with it, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday in a Republic Day message to President Pranab Mukherjee said he was keen to lift the strategic cooperative partnership between China and India “to a higher level”.
In a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also said his government was “ready to work with India to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and build a closer partnership of development”.
While China has been closely following the outcome of the Obama visit, Chinese State media in recent days sought to play down any concerns China might have about the deepening of defence and maritime security ties between India and the US.
India for its part has assured China that it will not join any efforts aimed at “containing” China – a message that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to repeat when she arrives in Beijing on Saturday.
Beijing has recently blamed the US for allying with its neighbours like Japan and Philippines to contain China’s rise. Chinese officials said on Monday they believed India would not play any role in any country’s “containment” plans.
Xi, in his message to President Mukherjee, said China was “delighted with India’s achievements in its development”, the official Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying. “Both China and India, as two ancient civilisations, are pursuing a great dream of national rejuvenation,” Xi said in the message.
With the coming year marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of diplomatic ties, Xi said China was “willing to make concerted efforts with India to lift their strategic cooperative partnership oriented to peace and prosperity to a higher level”.