Thanks to the joint efforts of Chinese and India media figures, the first issue of China-India Dialogue, a monthly magazine focused on showcasing in-depth views from eminent experts of the two countries, has finally arrived. It combines traits of both traditional and new media, with an accompanying website about to be launched. Readers can even interact with the magazine via devices such as tablets and smartphones as well as social media platforms.
In 2013, China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs co-organized the First China-India Media Forum in India. For the event, I ventured to India for the first time. I had read many books and essays and seen photos of India, but the things I saw in person still blew my mind. In recent years, China-India relations have improved by leaps and bounds as both Asian countries have steadily upgraded their respective diplomatic positions. In 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chose India as his first foreign visit after taking office. Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited India, and some pundits called the trip China and India’s closest moment in decades. In May 2015, Indian Prime Minister Modi’s China visit further enhanced bilateral relations between the two countries. Prior to his trip to China, Modi registered a Weibo (China’s equivalent to Twitter) account so he could interact with Chinese netizens online.
China and India have both reached critical stages of development. As the world’s two largest emerging economies, they share many interests related to various regional and global issues such as regional economic cooperation, regional interconnection, regional stability, environmental protection, and international economic order. Just as Chinese President Xi once said, “As two important poles of the world, China and India share many strategic converging points. If the two countries speak in one voice, the whole world will attentively listen; if the two countries join hand in hand, the whole world will closely watch. From bilateral, regional or global perspectives, China and India are long-lasting strategic and cooperative partners more than rivals.”
As China and India become close development partners and global allies in strategic coordination, people of both countries are eager to better know each other so that they can understand and admire each other’s visions and creatively grasp opportunities to expand cooperation. Both leaders and the public of the two countries realize that the media plays a significant role in promoting the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership. The media can exert deep influence on public opinion in China and India, so reporters must take social and historic responsibility to enhance mutual understanding and friendship, improve bilateral relations between the two countries and safeguard regional peace. Today, due to the rapid development of emerging media platforms and internet technologies, Chinese and Indian people can communicate via diverse means and channels, which will further enrich the flavor and scope of China-India relations.
Thanks to such an environment, Chinese and Indian media outlets have increasingly strengthened communication and cooperation in China-India cultural exchange. In recent years, reporters from both sides have ventured deep into each other’s country to produce comprehensive reports, from different angles, on each other’s development in terms of politics, economics, military affairs, science, technology, culture, and society. Furthermore, the objectivity, accuracy, and scope of reporting have considerably improved. For a long time, media outlets from both countries lacked in-depth mutual understanding and exchange and failed to conduct objective analysis and research of each other’s country. Consequently, China-India relations often fell into a mire of misunderstanding.
CIPG is one of China’s oldest and largest international communication institutions. It launched China-India Dialogue in hopes of promoting information exchange and mutual understanding between the two countries through various media platforms including a website, a printed magazine, social media and in-depth cooperation with Indian media outlets. We will explore the latest developmental trends and social issues in the two developing Asian powers and expound on topics such as the “Asian community of shared future”, “developing powers on the rise and the new international order”, and “highs and lows as ancient Eastern countries seek modernization”. Starting from this point, we hope to build a bridge of dialogue and mutual trust between Chinese and Indian media outlets, scholars, politicians and businessmen to promote cultural and idea exchanges between the two countries. In the future, we will have a broad view of whole Asia and even other parts of the world.
The joint statement made by China and India during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China points out that the simultaneous re-emergence of India and China as two major powers in the region and the world offers a momentous opportunity for the beginning of the Asian Century. China-India bilateral relations are poised to play a defining role in the 21st century in Asia and, indeed, globally. Currently, the two countries face momentous opportunities to strengthen their friendship. We hope that China-India Dialogue will gather visionary voices from all walks of life and help the two countries improve their bilateral relations as well as the living standards of their people, blazing a trail for in-depth communication and dialogue between China and India.
The author, Zhou Mingwei, is President of China International Publishing Group (CIPG).