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Chinese President begins India visit today
September 17, 2014, 6:36 am

 

The Chinese President will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday by his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, followed by signing of a slew of agreements in infrastructure, finance and culture [Xinhua]

The Chinese President will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday by his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, followed by signing of a slew of agreements in infrastructure, finance and culture [Xinhua]

Indian officials are gearing up to host the Chinese President Xi Jinping who begins a 3-day trip to India on Wednesday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he looks forward to holding talks with Xi to strengthen bilateral ties.

“If we work together, we can not only lift up the living standard of 35 per cent of world population, but also can bring special meaning to the remaining 65 per cent of world population by contributing to economic prosperity of the world,” Modi told Chinese journalists on the eve of Xi’s visit.

The two sides have set a bilateral trade target of $100 billion by 2015.

China has said it will invest up to $100 billion in India over the next five years in modernizing Indian railways, building roads, ports and in river-linking projects.

The Chinese President has just wrapped up visits to Maldives and Sri Lanka where he has roped in the support of both the countries for his ambitious Silk Road Economic Belt Project. Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already asserted India’s interest in partnering with China on the project. Xi and Modi are expected to further talks on the grand revival project.

Beijing is pushing for existing projects like the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and Chinese industrial parks in India, to be included in the Silk Road Project.

On Wednesday, Xi is visiting the Sabarmati Ashram in the Western state of Gujarat, home of Indian leader and freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi.

Xi will also visit Vadnagar in Gujarat, which 7th century Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuan Zang visited and mentioned in his travel diaries.

Gujarat is the home state of the new Indian Prime Minister.

The Chinese President will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday by his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, followed by signing of a slew of agreements in infrastructure, finance and culture.

On Thursday and Friday, Xi will also hold talks with other Indian leaders, including the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and opposition leader Sonia Gandhi.

India has a huge trade deficit with China that hit $31 billion in 2013. Indian exports to China last year totalled $17.03 billion – a 9.4 per cent fall from last year – out of $65.47 total bilateral trade, according to figures released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC).

Bilateral trade had reached a record $ 74 billion in 2011, when China became India’s largest trading partner.

Adding to challenges of both China and India is the burgeoning income gap between the rich and the poor, among the widest in the world. Both the two Asian neighbours are battling inequality corruption and unemployment as the top social challenges.

In 1950, China and India established diplomatic relations. A brief border war in 1962 disrupted ties between the two neighbours. In 1976, China and India resumed ambassadorial level diplomatic relations.

Xi had earlier met Indian Prime Minister Modi in July during the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had earlier last month hosted Modi for talks that yielded a Japanese pledge to invest $34 billion in India, pre-empting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing has accused Abe’s “dollar diplomacy”, together with arms exports as symptomatic of Japan’s strategy to ally with neighboring countries to contain a rising China.

“Abe wants to build a close security partnership with India so as to contain China on both its eastern and western fronts. It also wants support in its territorial dispute with China,” argued an oped in state-run China Daily.

Xi leaves for Beijing on Friday.

 

TBP

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