As the world celebrates New Year, China expresses hope that its ties with India will get a big boost in 2017.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing a couple of days ago, senior spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying said that China would try hard to resolve all outstanding issues with India in 2017. Hua said: “2016 has seen a steady development of China-India relations, with the two countries marching towards the goal of building a more closely-knit partnership for development. The leaderships of the two countries have maintained frequent contacts despite the differences.”

According to the spokesperson, as dialogues and consultations have been going on between Beijing and New Delhi in an orderly fashion at all levels, it will not be difficult for the two Asian powers to carry out practical co-operation in various fields in the coming days. She stressed: “As close neighbours, it is natural for our two big countries to have differences and we have been exploring ways to resolve them through diplomatic channels. The main theme of China-India relations remains friendship and co-operation.”

Hua told the media that Beijing would try to develop greater political mutual trust with New Delhi in an attempt to ensure a sustained and steady development of bilateral relations. On India’s NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) membership bid, she said that the top Chinese leadership urged the member countries of the elite club to prepare a “non-discriminatory formula” in order to admit new members.

Meanwhile, Hua advised India to boost trade ties with China, saying that her country was ready to increase the volume of investment in the South Asian nation in 2017. She claimed that a number of Chinese telecom firms, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, invested a huge amount of money in different Indian projects last year. She further assured New Delhi that Wanda, China’s top business group, would invest USD 10 billion in northern Indian province of Haryana to build an industrial city.

Hua once again made clear that it would be crucial for both China and India to keep the dialogue open at all levels in order to reduce friction. Terming the bilateral relationship as a complex one, she said that the positive outcome of the ongoing dialogue would shape the future landscape of Asia. The senior Chinese official is of the opinion that ‘close’ Sino-Indian ties will not only ensure peace and stability in Asia, but also help the two Asian neighbours emerge as the biggest world powers.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]