April 10th, 2005
Chinese premier calls for tech axis with India info
Hi, "It is true India has the advantage in software and China in hardware. If India and China cooperate in the IT industry, we will be able to lead the world...and it will signify the coming of the Asian century of the IT industry,"
--Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
| Source:REUTERS |
BANGALORE (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India's technology hub on Sunday and said the two Asian giants could team up to become world leaders in information technology.
Wen arrived in Bangalore on Saturday on a four-day visit to India aimed at easing a decades-old border dispute and boosting trade between the world's two most populous countries.
Wen visited Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest software exporter, at a gleaming technology park symbolising India's growing prowess in information technology (IT).
"It is true India has the advantage in software and China in hardware. If India and China cooperate in the IT industry, we will be able to lead the world...and it will signify the coming of the Asian century of the IT industry," he said.
Wen also visited the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Indian Institute of Science and the office of China's largest telecoms equipment maker, Huawei Technologies, that plans to invest $100 million in India.
Huawei, which employs 800 Indians and 30 Chinese in India, is a rare Chinese player among more than 1,200 software units in Bangalore.
Wen was scheduled to leave for Delhi later on Sunday.
Wen, on the last leg of a four-nation South Asian tour, said his Indian visit would hold "significance in history".
His visit symbolises both the rivalry and the cooperation between two of the world's fastest growing economies who are mulling a free trade area.
China, whose exports in software and back-office services total less than a fifth of India's estimated $17.3 billion, is boosting English-language skills in schools to help mount a challenge to workers in Bangalore's software campuses.
On the other hand, TCS and Infosys Technologies, India's top two software firms, have set up centres in China with local staff, while Wipro plans to start one soon, aiming for a slice of China's $30 billion software market.
Wen begins official talks on Monday in Delhi, when he is due to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Apart from the long-standing border dispute, talks were to focus on trade with the aim of eventually establishing a free trade area (FTA).
"Definitely there will be something coming out on this (FTA) in this trip," Sun Yuxi, China's ambassador to India, told "BusinessWorld" magazine. "If we can develop a free trade area between China and India, we will be the biggest in the world."
Two-way trade has been growing at 30 percent a year for the past eight years, and could surpass $30 billion by 2010 from the current $13 billion. That would put China ahead of the United States as India's largest trading partner.
Each with more than one billion people, India and China are emerging as global diplomatic heavyweights. Bilateral ties are warmer now than at any time since a 1962 war over their 3,500-km Himalayan border.
The visit may clear the way for an end to the dispute.