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China, India gear up for Xi’s Delhi visit
September 9, 2014, 5:21 am

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, Aug. 16, 2014 [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, Aug. 16, 2014 [Xinhua]

Chinese and Indian officials have begun preparations for an upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to New Delhi.

Although official dates have not yet been announced, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday in Beijing Xi will visit India later this month after attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.

Xi is scheduled to attend the 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of the SCO member states on Thursday and Friday in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, said Qin Gang.

Apart from India, Xi will also pay state visits to Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and the Maldives.

Beijing and New Delhi will try to boost efforts to forge stronger ties when Xi meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the second meeting of the two leaders after the new Indian government was sworn in. Xi had met Modi during the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil in July.

India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday held talks with China’s top diplomat and State Councillor Yang Jiechi in Beijing to finalise the arrangements for Xi’s visit.

The major challenges faced by the new Indian government formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party would be to strike a balance between its overtures to Tokyo and the consolidation of growing goodwill with Beijing.

Xi’s visit comes on the heels of a successful show of camaraderie between Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the Indian Premier’s visit to Japan.

Saeed Naqvi, Indian journalist and foreign policy expert calls this the new eastern “love triangle”.

“The love triangle featuring Japan, China and India is being watched with keen interest by the West even as the US pivots to Asia,” Naqvi told The BRICS Post.

The personal friendship shared by the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, reported extensively by Indian media, is a development that would be closely watched by China.

“Both as new emerging countries and members of BRICS, China and India have plenty of interests in common. If Japan attempts to form a united front centered on India, it will be a crazy fantasy generated by Tokyo’s anxiety of facing a rising Beijing,” said an editorial in China’s Communist Party run Global Times.

During his visit, Xi is expected to push for advancement of talks on Indian participation in China’s revival of the ancient Silk Road. India’s outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed India’s willingness to participate in the new Silk Road economic belt.

China and India alongwith two other Asian neighbours have already established an inter-governmental body last December to help build a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

Beijing and New Delhi have set a trade target of $100 billion by 2015.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his visit to Central and Southeast Asian countries last fall, put forward the two initiatives of building an economic belt along the ancient Silk Road and a 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

“The Silk Road boasts a 3-billion population and a market that is unparalleled both in scale and potential,” Xi said in September last year.

A new map unveiled by Xinhua shows the Chinese plans for the Silk Road run through Central China to the northern Xinjiang from where it travels through Central Asia entering Kazakhstan and onto Iraq, Iran, Syria and then Istanbul in Turkey from where it runs across Europe cutting across Germany, Netherlands and Italy.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had said last year China, India and Russia can “play a major role in building the Silk Route Economic Corridor”.

Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who visited Beijing twice including early this month, has laid ground for Xi’s visit by holding extensive talks with Chinese officials on the package of investments as well as measures to address India’s concerns of trade deficit.

The two countries have taken positive measures in maintaining peace and stability on the border in recent years, and signed a landmark border accord last year.

China and India share a 2,000-km-long border that has never been formally delineated. The two countries began discussing border issues in the 1980s.




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