iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 10, 2014
Keen to cement ties with China, India has urged Beijing to postpone President Xi Jinping’s September state visit to the Capital as it is clashing with host President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Vietnam. The Indian President is going to Vietnam from September 15-17. South Block sources said as the tentative date for President Xi’s visit to India was September 14-15, Beijing has been informed through diplomatic channels that Chinese President was most welcome on September 17-18 on return from his state visits to Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“As per earlier plans, President Xi’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on September 15 after which he would fly to Colombo and Islamabad. But due to non-availability of the host, President Mukherjee, we have requested that President Xi fly into India on September 17 and hold summit level talks the next day,” said a senior official. Beijing reply is still awaited.

The Narendra Modi government is keen to deepen ties particularly in the economic and infrastructure sector and has noted that President Xi sent his special representative Wang Yi to meet the PM as soon as he was sworn in.  China has also hosted Indian President, vice president and new commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman this year.

“Our aim is to keep borders quiet with both countries increasing bilateral trade and Beijing reducing huge trade deficit through investment in Indian manufacturing sector,” said a South Block official.

Apart from being the host, the other reason why India wants President Mukherjee to be present is that it does not want to send any adverse message to Beijing particularly when PM Modi is travelling to Japan on September 1-3, hosting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot in India on September 4-5 and then travelling to US in the last week of September.