April 2005 marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India. It is a major milestone for the two ancient civilizations, neighbors, and rising powers. Over the past five and half decades, the bilateral relationship has witnessed the warm “Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai” brotherhood and the famous Panch Sheel or the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the 1950s but it has also been overshadowed by the 1962 border war and the acrimonious spat in the wake of India’s May 1998 nuclear tests.
Sino-Indian relations today are enjoying a period of stability and growing economic ties. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s forthcoming visit to India From April 9-12 will build on the positive momentum generated by the June 2003 visit by Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, there remain unresolved disputes and emerging conflicts between the two countries – ranging from boundary issues to energy security – that require strategic vision, diplomatic skill and mutual accommodation.