An economic alliance between these two populous countries can generate an enormous consumer base of 250 million people, Shri Joseph said, while not undermining the contentious issues in the relationship, regarding the border, Tibet and Dalai Lama. "Coming together of India and China can create the biggest consumer grouping in the world. Joining forces will make both these countries economic super-powers in the Asian region."
"India and China have had a relationship of mutual respect for the past 2,500 years; the only aberration being the Sino-Indian War of 1962. One war should not keep us away forever. The long years of friendship should not be obliterated," Shri Joseph said and cited the example of European Union in which several countries have bonded for a larger good.
"From being a confusing medley of warring countries in the last 50 years, the free economic zone created by the European Union has made Europe one of the wealthiest parts of the world."
Shri Joseph, who has spent over seven years in Cambodia during his stint with the ILO, went on to talk about India's relationship with countries of East Asia including Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam and pointed out how "now-forgotten" Malayalam names of months such as ‘Dhanu' and ‘Makaram' are used in everyday conversation there.
On India's foreign policy with these East Asian countries, Shri Joseph said, "There is a visible amount of Indianness in these countries. India is seen as a benign, friendly and supportive country, while China is feared and perceived as a threat. The inherent good image of India should be capitalised on. India should have a policy of not just looking East, but also engaging with the East."
Shri Joseph opined that in backdrop of China's hostile relationship with its neighbours, the Asian major will welcome an alliance with India as it is desperately looking for friends. The expert also told students that India is first and foremost an Asian country, and our future lies in Asia.
Prof Rajeev S, Director, ASB said China's long years of positive relationship with us has been because India was the only country that China could learn something from. Shri C Balagopal, Managing Director, Terumo Penpol Ltd., was also present.