Chinese Consul General in Mumbai Kong Xianhua has said the economic and cultural connections between the people of China and India are so strong that nothing and nobody could push them apart. Kong was addressing a gathering on Friday on the occasion of the Chinese New Year Reception and Chinese Cultural Festival in Mumbai. He said that 2023 marked a year of achievements and harvest for both China and India.”It is the extensive cooperation between our people that makes it happen,” he said.

The China-India trade volume surpassed 136.2 billion dollars in 2023, he said. The Chinese Embassy and its Consulates-General in India have issued more than 1.8 lakh visas in the last year, showing a new high of Indian visitors to China after the pandemic, he said.

One of the biggest news in Mumbai these days is that the Coastal Road is set to open this month, he said.

“It is worth noting that the tunnel under Malabar Hill (in south Mumbai), the hardest part of the project, was built with a Chinese tunnel boring machine by the efforts of both Chinese and Indian engineers,” he said.

The envoy also said that they had held a promotional event for the China International Import Exhibition, calling on more Indian companies to look at the Chinese market, the second largest in the world, he said.

“We held the Chinese Proficiency Competition, the first time in Mumbai, inspiring Indian youngsters to learn Chinese. These events gave me a very deep impression that the economic and cultural connections between our people are so strong that nothing and nobody could push us apart,” he said.

Kong said India made significant achievements in various aspects in 2023, including 7.3 per cent economic growth rate, wonderful performance in the Asian Games held in China’s Hangzhou, and the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the moon.

In 2023, despite the difficulties, Chinese companies achieved pretty good performance and actively participated in social welfare undertakings, he said.

The envoy also said that Yapp India, a Chinese company in Pune, completed the infrastructure upgrade project in S.M.C No.1 High School in Solapur, the hometown of Dr Dwarakanath Shantaram Kotnis who served on the frontlines as a physician during the Sino-Japanese war.

Kong attended the inauguration ceremony of the project last December.

He said the thunderous applause from the kids made him deeply feel their heartfelt gratitude and true friendship between Chinese and Indian people.

Kong also said he was glad to know that Sany, Haier and many other Chinese companies also engage in social welfare undertakings and contribute to the development of local society.