Sushma Swaraj in Beijing: Important for Indians and Chinese to learn each other's language, says Union minister

Beijing: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, on Monday, asked Indians and Chinese to learn each other's language as it will help them overcome communication barriers and further strengthen the relationship between the two nations.

Swaraj, who is on a visit to Beijing, made the remarks during a programme, titled 'Contribution of Hindi in India-China Friendship', organised by the India Embassy.

"When two friends sit together, what do they want? They want to talk their hearts out to each other, share what they feel. And for that we need a language. I should be able to understand Chinese when you speak, and you should be able to understand Hindi when I talk," Swaraj said.

Sushma Swaraj in Beijing

File image of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. AP

"If there is an interpreter sitting between two friends, he may be able to translate the words but not the feelings with which I say something. So, it is essential that we learn a language, and understand it," she said, a day after it was announced that prime minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping would hold an informal summit from 27 to 28 April.

"I want to say that the way India and China's relation are strengthening, trade is increasing, we are working together on international forums, it has become increasingly important that you learn Hindi and we learn Chinese. So that when Indians visit China they don't face difficulty, and when Chinese visit India, you don't require an interpreter," Swaraj said.

Swaraj said that during her meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday, she had told him that people are the biggest strength for any foreign minister and when people of two countries love each other, it only strengthens the governments.

"And this, your love for Hindi... You may not be aware that two foreign ministers can't strengthen the relations between Indian and China as much as these students learning Hindi can. You (students) all are doing great service (to the two countries)," she said.

The minister invoked "Dangal", "Secret Superstar" and "Hindi Medium" to stress that Hindi films are gaining popularity in China, but said an understanding of the language instead of subtitles could improve their experiences of watching such films.

Noting that during the programme, a Chinese student learning Hindi had expressed that it was her dream to visit India, Swaraj instructed the ambassador to make arrangements for a visit of such students to India

"I want to tell her that your dream will come true right here, right now. I am telling our ambassador here to send a delegation of 25 Hindi students from here on a India visit," she said.

"We will entertain you there and gift you Indian traditional clothes — saree for girls and kurta pyjama for boys. I entrust our ambassador here with the responsibility of sending a delegation of students learning Hindi," she said.


Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 11:44 AM

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