Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to address the India-China Business Forum this morning. This is virtually my last engagement on a very memorable five day State Visit to China. I believe that it is an appropriate conclusion, as economic cooperation has become an increasingly central element of India-China relations. The presence of so many business representatives from both countries today, at this Forum clearly confirms that this is a widely shared perception.

From a very modest trade turnover of just US Dollars 3 billion in 2000, bilateral trade has rapidly grown to US Dollars 52 billion in 2008. In the process, China has emerged as India's largest trade partner in goods. Although the global economic slowdown had some impact on our trade in 2009, I believe that the first quarter figures for 2010 are more encouraging. There is good reason to believe that we will achieve the target, we have set ourselves, of a US Dollars 60 billion turnover in two-way trade this year. While commendable in itself, this growth raises three issues, that I hope this forum will deliberate upon:

- One, there is considerable room for further expansion and rapid growth in our cooperation. It is important that we continuously assess and review both opportunities and challenges in that regard.

- Two, India's export basket to China is not representative of India's competence in a number of areas - for example pharmaceuticals and engineering products constitute only a small portion. Similarly, India's vaunted IT industry has a limited presence in the Chinese domestic market.

- Three, business, financial and other economic institutions of the two countries have still to get to know each other well and develop sufficient awareness levels. It is only when that happens that our economic potential will be truly realized.

In my meetings with President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing, the expansion of our trade and economic cooperation featured prominently. The two Governments have also been in close contact as they attach importance to this facet of our ties. The meeting of the India - China Joint Economic Group this past January, affirmed the need to address challenges of market access and trade imbalance in a constructive spirit. I am confident that there is political will and determination on both sides, to rapidly broaden the vistas of cooperation.

To the Indian business and industry that is present here, I would urge more energetic and focused efforts at making our presence felt in Chinese markets. India is currently China's tenth largest trade partner. We must strive to improve on that standing. We have four thrust areas for market development - Information Technology, pharmaceuticals, engineering and agro-products. I am informed that dedicated events are being planned this year in these areas, to raise market awareness and some have already taken place. I commend those Indian entrepreneurs, operating in China, many of whom are represented at this forum, who have been successful in such a competitive market as China. We need more success stories to encourage Indian industry to participate in the China markets.

To representatives of Chinese businesses who are present here today, my message is that India stands ready to do more business. We welcome investment by Chinese companies in India. The consumer demands of a society with over 8 per cent GDP growth rate are in itself attractive. India's infrastructure modernization offers significant opportunities as well. For a long-term partnership, it is important that we develop models of cooperation that take into account the concerns of both parties. I am sure that this will happen even as our economic relationship unfolds. It is a relationship that has the potential to become one of the biggest economic and business relationships of the century.

I will return to India later today at the end of a very productive visit. I do so confident of the future of our ties and optimistic about the directions of our cooperation. We are large developing economies focused on raising the living standards of our people. There is much that we can do, if we only do it together. The impact of our cooperation can be felt around the world. An important part of the challenge of further developing our ties rests on the shoulders of our business communities. I am confident that you will rise to this challenge.

Thank you.