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India-China: 70 Years of Diplomatic Relations

  • 01 Apr 2020
  • 9 min read

Why in News

India and China mark the 1st April 2020 as the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them starting from 1950 till now.


  • 1950
    • India and China established diplomatic relations on 1st April 1950.
    • India was the first non-socialist country to establish relations with the People's Republic of China and the catchphrase ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’ became famous.
  • 1955
    • Both countries attended the Asian-African Conference in which 29 countries participated in Bandung, Indonesia and jointly advocated the Bandung Spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation.
    • It has led to the decolonisation of the whole of Asia and Africa and to the formation of a Non-Aligned Movement as the third Way between the Two Blocs of Superpowers.
    • The First NAM Summit Conference took place in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in September 1961.
  • 1962
    • The border conflict led to a serious setback in bilateral relations.
  • 1976
    • China and India restored ambassadorial relations and bilateral ties improved gradually.
  • 1988
    • Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited China, initiating the process of normalization of bilateral relations.
    • The two sides agreed to look forward and develop bilateral relations actively in other fields while seeking a mutually acceptable solution to boundary questions.
  • 1992
    • Indian President R. Venkataraman visited China.
    • He was the first President who visited China since the independence of the Republic of India.
  • 1996
    • Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited India.
    • He was the first head of state from China who visited India since the establishment of bilateral ties.
    • Agreement between the Government of China and the Government of India on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas was signed.
  • 2000
    • Indian President K R Narayanan visited China on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India.
  • 2008
    • "A Shared Vision for the 21st Century" was agreed upon by the two governments.
  • 2010
    • The 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India.
    • In December, the two countries issued a Joint Communiqué.
  • 2011
    • It was the ‘China-India Exchange Year’.
    • Both sides held a series of people-to-people and cultural exchange activities.
    • Both of them signed a memorandum on joint compilation for the ‘Encyclopedia of India-China Cultural Contacts’.
  • 2012
    • It was the ‘Year of China-India Friendship and Cooperation’.
    • The head of the governments met each other on the sidelines of the 4th BRICS Summit and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
  • 2015
    • The two sides met on the sidelines of the 7th BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia and the Leaders' Meetings on East Asia Cooperation in Malaysia.
    • China decided to open the Nathu La Pass (Sikkim) to Indian official pilgrims to Xizang.
    • India celebrated the India Tourism Year in China.
  • 2018
    • Chinese President held an informal meeting with Indian Prime Minister in Wuhan which set up a new model of exchanges between two leaders.
    • Indian Prime Minister visited China to attend the SCO Summit in Qingdao.
    • The two leaders met again on the sidelines of the 10th BRICS Summit and the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.
  • 2019
    • The second informal meeting was held in Mamallapuram, Chennai which reaffirmed the Wuhan consensus.
    • Both nations agreed to build a closer partnership for development, enhance the in-depth strategic communication, promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and advance exchanges and mutual learning between the two civilizations.
    • Both sides met on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Bishkek and the 11th BRICS Summit.
  • 2020
    • It marks the year of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India.
    • It is also China-India Year of Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges, where the two sides agreed to hold 70 celebratory activities to demonstrate the historic connection between the two civilizations as well as their growing bilateral relationship.

Facts and Figures on China-India Cooperation

  • Political and Diplomatic Relations
    • The Communist Party of China (CPC) has maintained friendly exchanges with 9 major Indian political parties including the BJP, Congress and left-wing parties for a long time.
    • 20 Inter-parliamentary friendship groups have been set up by China and India.
    • There are 50 dialogue mechanisms between China and India for exchanging views on various topics of bilateral, regional and global concern.
  • Economy and Trade
    • Since the beginning of the 21st century, trade between China and India has grown from less than $3 billion to nearly $100 billion, an increase of about 32 times.
      • In 2019, the trade volume between China and India was $92.68 billion.
    • With a combined market of over 2.7 billion people and a GDP of 20% of the world's total, China and India enjoy huge potential and broad prospects for economic and trade cooperation.
  • Science and Technology
    • Both nations have held Joint Research workshops on Science and Technology Innovation.
    • Indian companies have set up IT corridors in China, which help promote China-India cooperation in information technology and high technology.
  • Defense
    • ‘Hand-in-Hand’ joint anti-terrorist exercises to enhance mutual understanding and trust, exchange training experiences and jointly improve anti-terrorism capabilities.
    • China-India defense and security consultation to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the defense field.
  • People-to-People Exchanges
    • Both nations have held meetings of China-India High-Level People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges Mechanism. The two sides have made new progress on exchanges and cooperation in the fields of art, publishing, media, film and television, museum, sports, youth, tourism, locality, traditional medicine, yoga, education and think tanks.
    • Sessions of China-India High Level Media Forum and China-India Think Tank Forum were held to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the field of media and think tanks.
    • The two countries have established pairs of sister cities and provinces. For example, sister provinces and cities between Fujian Province and Tamil Nadu State, Quanzhou City and Chennai City.
    • The number of Indian pilgrims to Xizang Autonomous Region of China has surged from several hundreds in the 1980s to more than 20,000 in 2019.

Way Forward

  • Today's achievements of India-China relations embodied the great efforts of several generations.
  • Both nations need to master the four keys of:
    • Leading: It means to reach consensus and guide the direction of the development of bilateral relations under the guidance of leaders from both nations.
    • Transmitting: It means to transmit the leaders’ consensus to all levels and translate it into tangible cooperation and outcomes.
    • Shaping: It means to go beyond the mode of managing differences, shape bilateral relations actively and accumulate positive momentum.
    • Integrating: It means to strengthen exchanges and cooperation, promote convergence of interests and achieve common development.
  • At this moment, it is particularly important to revisit the original aspiration of establishing diplomatic relations 70 years ago and carry forward the spirit of good neighborliness and friendship, unity and cooperation.

Source: TH

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