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March 2001 - China and India: First Steps to a Newly Opened Dialog

In 2001, partners in India and in China with the support of the FPH launched a program to gather groups of Chinese and Indians and to lay the foundations of a dialog between citizens of the two countries.

China and India, with populations of more than a billion each are the two most populated countries in the world (together they represent two-fifths of the Earth’s population); moreover, they are neighbors. These facts, which are evident, are even more striking when observing that relations between the Chinese and the Indians are neither fluid nor frequent. Such relations are mainly concentrated on business trips for company heads and executives or on limited diplomatic relations. It is significant that to this day, there is no direct flight between Beijing and Delhi.

It is also a reality that India and China constitute two ancient civilizations, and at the same time that their economies represent a crucial challenge for the future of the world. More profoundly, peaceful relations between the two continent-countries will be decisive for worldwide peace in the coming years.

In the modern era, China and India have experienced long and often difficult periods of social and political change, marked by wars and struggles for independence. There is no doubt that China and India are made of two very different cultures, each with specific spiritual and ethical foundations. Their diversity and differences can be a source of rivalries, tensions, or even conflicts; they can also be a source of dialogue, cooperation, and mutual enhancement.

It hence appeared indispensable, if we seek to live in peace in a world of diversity, that active Chinese and Indian partners in the dynamics of the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World should take the initiative of building a new dialog between these two peoples.

In March 2001, a cross-cultural journey was organized by Makarand Paranjape of India and Yifeng Zhao of China. The Chinese group arrived first in Delhi to meet Makarand and his friends. Gustavo Marine of the FPH Future of the Planet program also went to Delhi to welcome them.

The activities in India lasted 7 days. The Chinese group visited a few sites representative of the history, and the cultural and religious diversity, and spoke with many people belonging to different spheres: academics, religious leaders, organizers, intellectuals, farmers. In addition to Delhi, Agra, Mathura, and Fatehpur Sikri, the group went to Bombay and Bangalore. They visited stores, universities, temples, mosques, tombs, gurdwaras (sikh temples), villages, farms, and poor districts. The meetings took place in the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Delhi and in Pipal Tree, and in the Fireflies Ashram close to Bangalore.

The themes of the discussions and dialogs touched upon subjects related to the impact of the West in the Chinese culture, globalization, and the economic and social transformations in India and in China, and perspectives for exchanges between the two countries. The second week took place in China. The Indian group first went to Hong Kong, then Zhenzhen, then Shanghai and Pudong, Beijing and finally Changchun. The discussions were held while visiting the Great Wall, the Tiananmen square, and the Ming tombs.

Meetings were organized with academics in Shanghai and in Beijing and a series of conferences were organized at the Northeastern Teacher’s University in Changchun. Visits to rural homes, the women’s federation, and to the Volkswagen factory were organized by the Chinese hosts in this city of the North of China. Some of the key words of this dialog are: traditional civilizations and modern civilizations, cultural diversity and globalization, modernization and Westernization, the roles of India and China in the 21st century, learning of China in India and learning of India in China.

Following this first stage, Makarand Paranjape and Yifeng Zhao presented a project to move toward a new phase of this dialog. One of the singular activities of their initiative was the organization of an Indo-Chinese Film Festival. The Chinese partners organized the festival with Indian movies in China, which took place during the first week of April 2003. In India, the Chinese film festival was organized in Delhi during the third week of April 2003 with the cooperation of the International Center and the local film companies. Many seminars and round tables on the dialog between India and China were organized at the same time.


Gustavo Marin
Director of the Forum for a New World (...)
+ 26 article(s)


Go !Copenhagen Social World Summit, 1995
Go !First International Meeting of Alliance Facilitators, Barcelona, 1996 - by Joan Ramon Gordo, Marti Olivella
Go !1997: History of the Alliance’s International Assembly and Continental Assemblies - by Gustavo Marin, Manola Gardez
Go !1997: Other Documents Related to the Meetings - by Cécile Sabourin, Gustavo Marin, Maurice Cosandey, Morgane Iserte, Philippe Guirlet, Pierre Calame, Ricardo Gómez, Véronique Rioufol
Go !First Meeting of the International Facilitation Team of the Alliance: 1999 - by Gustavo Marin, Marti Olivella, Nacéra Aknak Khan
Go !June 2001: Continental Meetings of the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World - by Gustavo Marin, Marti Olivella
Go !December 2001 - The World Citizens Assembly: Challenges, Changes, Results - by Pierre Calame
Go !Allies around the World (April 2003) - by Gustavo Marin


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