Trade, investment to top agenda of Xi visit

By Sarkaritel September 17, 2014 10:09

Trade, investment to top agenda of Xi visit

New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Sep 17  Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in India Wednesday on a three-day visit that would see trade and investment topping the agenda of talks between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi besides other bilateral issues.

Modi has described the India-China ties as going “beyond plain arithmetic”.

Xi is arriving Wednesday afternoon in Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat state, at the head of a high-powered delegation.

In a first, Modi will receive the Chinese president in Ahmedabad after which the two sides are to ink some agreements related to the region.

A red carpet welcome and Gujarati culture and cuisine await the Chinese president during his six-hour visit to the state.

Modi, who arrived in Ahmedabd Tuesday afternoon, said visiting heads of states should travel beyond New Delhi and see smaller towns to understand the country’s diversity better.

This was Modi’s first visit to Gujarat after becoming prime minister.

Discussing the India-China relations with Chinese journalists based in New Delhi, Modi summarised the possibilities of the bilateral ties moving ahead as “Inch (India and China) towards Miles (Millennium of Exceptional Synergy)”.

To a question on how he foresees India and China relations developing, Modi said: “Our relations go beyond plain arithmetic. They have a unique chemistry that can make for a defining moment.”

While in Ahmedabad, Xi is to visit Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram and spend some time there along with Modi, who is to host a private dinner for the Chinese president at the Sabarmati Riverfront Park. The day would also mark Modi’s 64th birthday.

The Sabarmati riverfront is a pet project of Modi, who as Gujarat chief minister developed it on the line of the Thames river of London.

Several international mega events like kite festival, and Navratri festival have been organised at the riverfront.

As many as 150 Gujarati dishes are on the menu for the dinner, being prepared by a team of experts from different parts of Gujarat and the Taj Hotel team from Mumbai and Delhi.

Modi’s personal cook Badri will oversee the food section. Badri has been cooking for Modi for over 15 years.

In the evening, the two leaders will leave for Delhi.

On Thursday, Modi and Xi would hold talks at the Hyderabad House which would be followed by the inking of several agreements, including on infrastructure and railways.

The talks between the two leaders come amid reports of Chinese civilians entering Indian territory in Demchok in Ladakh.

“All substantive issues which have a bearing on India-China relations will be discussed” between the two, the external affairs ministry spokesperson has said.

The issue of China issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir is also likely to figure in the deliberations.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last week said India wants China to “understand and appreciate” its “sensitivities” regarding Arunachal Pradesh as New Delhi respects Beijing’s position on Tibet and Taiwan.

Xi is scheduled to deliver a keynote address under the auspices of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) Thursday afternoon.

Vice President Hamid Ansari will call on Xi.

In the evening, the Chinese president would call on President Pranab Mukherjee, who is to host a banquet in his honour.

On Friday, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Congress president Sonia Gandhi would call on him, before he departs.

The Chinese president’s visit to India comes days after Modi’s successful Japan visit, during which the Japanese government committed to invest $35 billion in India for development projects.

India and Japan also elevated their ties from a Strategic and Global Partnership to a Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

Japan is locked in a bitter quarrel with China over some disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Among the accords expected to be inked during Xi’s visit is a sister city agreement between Ahmedabad and China’s most developed Guangdong province.

Both sides are also expected to announce the setting up of two industrial parks by China, one each in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

India-China trade totalled $66.4 billion last year, which was heavily skewed in China’s favour.

India has voiced concern at the mounting trade deficit which averaged $35 billion.

Xi’s visit comes at a time when President Mukherjee is visiting Vietnam.

China and Vietnam are not on the best of diplomatic terms over Beijing’s claim to the whole of South China Sea.

Modi and Xi have met earlier, on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil in July.

Xi will be accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, a noted singer, two senior members of the Communist Party of China politburo, state councillor Yang Jiechi, who was formerly foreign minister, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Minister for Commerce Gao Hucheng besides other officials.

By Sarkaritel September 17, 2014 10:09