Sino-Indian relations is a topic that raises people’s expectations but is also complex and unpredictable, yet we have enough reasons to believe that the key to sound relations between states lies in the affinity between their people.
Leaders of both China and India attach great importance to bilateral exchanges between their people. During President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in September 2014 and Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China in May 2015, the two sides reached an important consensus to further Sino-Indian non-governmental exchanges.
The two countries’ effort to promote bilateral cultural exchanges between the two peoples does not happen as expected is due to the lack of both governmental and nongovernmental exchanges and mutual understanding. This is mainly reflected in the few numbers of students, tourists, and citizens in the other country, and it is the same problem when we mention the number of people that is learning or has an understanding of the other country’s language. Former Chinese ambassador to India Le Yucheng pointed out that strengthening exchanges between the two sides in various fields and accelerating the filling of the cognitive gap are an important and urgent task we face. Therefore, a survey about Chinese in the eyes of Indians and Indians in the eyes of Chinese has both theoretical value and practical significance.
The Horizon China Group launched such a survey in 2013 in the two countries. This is the first poll launched by a Chinese private professional research institution on such a topic. Results were based on the feedback of 1,015 Chinese and 661 Indians. In those that submitted to the survey, more than 60% of Chinese believe that India shows a promising future, Sino-Indian relations are important for Chinese, and they have many common interests and should cooperate to achieve win-win cooperation. In the interview with the people of India, over half believe that China will become the world’s political leader in 2050. Nearly 90% of people look forward to coming to China as tourists or do business. Generally speaking, the survey data show that China and India are eager to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen cooperation to achieve win-win situation.
Increased mutual understanding between the peoples will result in less misreading and misjudgment, and will also further strengthen their diplomatic relationship. People have more expectations for good Sino-Indian relations but things are also complex and unpredictable. However, we have enough reasons to believe that the key to a sound relationship between two states lies in the affinity between their peoples.