NEW DELHI, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stressed common development and sought strengthened cooperation and exchanges with India when he met Indian leaders and addressed the Indian Council of World Affairs on Thursday.
"There is enough space in the world for the development of both countries and enough areas for them to cooperate," Wen said at the the Indian Council of World Affairs.
"Such important consensus is deeply rooted in the time-honored cultural traditions of the two countries and our long history of exchanges," Wen said.
And "it comes from our correct reading of the international situation and keen understanding of our national interests," said Wen, who arrived here Wednesday for an official visit to India.
"China-India relations experienced major twists and turns. But they were only a short episode in our 2,000-year history of friendly exchanges," he said.
"Entering the 21st century, both China and India have moved onto the fast track of development, and our bilateral relations have made important headway," he said, noting that the two countries established the strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity.
"The world today is undergoing major development, major adjustment and major changes," Wen said, adding that India and China both are "at a crucial stage of development."
"We should seize the opportunities and lose no time in expanding and deepening our converging interests and actively advance strategic cooperation and practical cooperation," the premier said.
"Only in this way can we speed up development, meet challenges together, share development achievements and usher in a bright future," he said. "I believe that China and India have the responsibility and the ability to fulfill this historic mission."
During meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, Wen expressed his hope that his visit will be "the one to carry on the past and open a way for future," so as to further enhance bilateral win-win cooperation.
"I hope my current visit is the one to carry on the past and open a way for future, which will further enhance our win-win cooperation," Wen said.
The two countries should grasp historical opportunity to boost political and strategic mutual trust and promote China-Indian relations to move forward along the track of lasting friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development, Wen added.
In a joint communique released after Wen's talks with Singh, both sides agreed to regularize their exchanges of high-level visits and inaugurate a package of other measures to enhance bilateral ties.
Reflecting their strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity, "the two sides decided to establish the mechanism of regular exchange of visits between Heads of State/Government," it said.
The two leaders welcomed the opening of a telephone hotline between the Chinese premier and Indian prime minister, and agreed on regular consultations on issues of importance to both sides, the document added.
Meanwhile, the two sides also endorsed the launching of a mechanism of annual exchange of visits between their foreign ministers, according to the joint communique.
In addition, the two Asian neighbors agreed to initiate a strategic economic dialogue to enhance macro-economic policy coordination and try to bring their annual trade to 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.
Concerted efforts were also called for to expand bilateral cooperation and pursue win-win results in education, banking, infrastructure construction, environmental protection and information technology among many others.
During a meeting with Indian President Pratibha Patil, Wen said a stable and prosperous India not only benefits the Indian people, but also is conducive to peace and development in the region and the world as a whole.
China is willing to work together with India, from a strategic height and a long-term perspective, to push for more fruitful cooperation between the two sides in various fields including politics, economy, science and technology, and culture so as to realize common prosperity, Wen said.
In meeting with Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Wen called for enhanced exchanges in various fields with India.
Wen said an important purpose of his ongoing visit is to strengthen exchanges with India in politics, economy, and culture and humanitarian aspects.
The two countries have declared that the year of 2011 will be the "Year of China-India Exchange," during which a series of exchanges and activities will be held and each side will invite 500 youth from the other side for a visit.
Wen said the basis for exchanges is to treat each other in an honest and candid manner.
While acknowledging the existence of some differences and contradictions between the two countries on some issues, he called on both sides not to sidestep them.
"Progress can be achieved as long as we brave the difficulties and make unremitting efforts," said the Chinese premier.
"China and India are partners, not rivals," Wen said, adding, "I hope this can be a firm faith of both sides."