Xi’s visit to Gujarat both symbolic and substantive

By Sarkaritel September 18, 2014 08:32

Xi’s visit to Gujarat both symbolic and substantive

Ahmedabad, Sep 18  Chinese President Xi Jinping starting his visit to India from Gujarat has further shored up the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi within his home state and has added to the perception of the state emerging as a powerhouse of the Indian economy.

Locals said it was the first time a key leader on the world stage had begun his visit to India from Ahmedabad and the visit had both symbolic significance and substantive value.

It was not mere coincidence that Xi’s visit to Ahmedabad took place on Modi’s 64th birthday.

The Gujarat government laid out a red carpet for the Chinese leader with roads in Ahmedabad adorned with big pictures of Xi and Modi and lamp-posts festooned with flags of the two countries.

“India’s megacity Ahmedabad warmly welcomes Xi Jinping,” said several posters against a red backdrop. The posters were in English, Hindi, Chinese and Gujarati.

Another poster said: “India and China ancient civilizations, modernizing economies.”

Xi’s visit saw three memoranda of understanding being signed concerning Gujarat.

The China Development Bank and the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation will jointly set up an industrial park in the state.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and the Chinese health department signed an agreement to provide health and urban hygiene and educational infrastructure. The third MoU concerned cooperation between the governments of Guangdong province of China and Gujarat.

Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat before becoming prime minister in May, has already been showcasing the “pro-business” image of Gujarat in the Vibrant Gujarat Summits which have become bigger and bigger over the years with the participation of many countries and some leading industrialists.

The state has the largest coastline in the country and 40 percent of the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor is expected to pass through the state.

Xi’s visit is likely to add to the pro-business profile of the state and help it get more international investment and technology.

The state has already made a name in agriculture growth and is keen to emerge as a defence manufacturing hub.

Locals said the Chinese leader had come to Gujarat because of Modi.

“I am feeling very proud. It is the first time an international figure has come to Ahmedabad at the beginning of his visit to India,” Ishant Ingley, who works in a recruitment agency, told IANS.

Jagdish Morya, a resident of Ahmedabad who works in a hotel, said Modi’s idea of taking leaders to cities outside Delhi was good as other cities have much to show.

“The Chinese president thought of coming to Gujarat because Modi had done good work in the state (as chief minister),” Morya said.

He said China has progressed faster than India in infrastructure and some other areas and Xi’s visit was sure to bring large investments to Gujarat.

The Chinese government is also expected to offer expertise on Modi’s projects of “smart cities” and bullet trains.

The central government is keen to establish the first bullet rail project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai and has plans to develop 100 smart cities.

By Sarkaritel September 18, 2014 08:32