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Chinese Premier arrives, means business

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived New Delhi today on a three-day trip to India. He is expected to give some but take a lot in his trip , billed by his countrymen as a "significant event". Jayanth Jacob reports.See special | Delhi itinerary

delhi Updated: Dec 15, 2010 14:11 IST
Jayanth Jacob

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived New Delhi today on a three-day trip to India. He is expected to give some but take a lot in his trip , billed by his countrymen as a “significant event”.

Although the dragon wants to kiss and make up on the issues, such as stapled Chinese visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir and India’s bid for permanent membership in the UNSC, what the sixth Chinese Premier will target during his second India visit — his first visit was in April 2005 — is opening up of a window for Chinese companies.

The former geologoist and engineer — regarded as the leading figure behind China’s economic policy shift — will lead 400 businessmen, one of the largest ever business team ever travelled with a Chinese head of state to India.

Also, government sources told HT on Tuesday that the two countries are likely to announce a CEO forum for furthering business ties.

If the $60-billion bilateral trade target set for this year is achieved, China will become India's biggest partner. The two countries are, however, planning to almost double the target to $100 billion in five years.

But New Delhi will pitch for Beijing expanding its import basket to include Indian IT, pharmaceuticals and agriculture products to correct the trade deficit that was $19 billion in 2009-10.

On the other sticking issues, Chinese assistant foreign minister Hu Zhengyue said, "We will not exclude the possibility of any discussion."

The stapled visa issue and the rejection of visa to General BS Jaswal on the ground that he had headed troops in Jammu and Kashmir have led to India putting on hold defence exchanges, which China is keen on.

Indications are that China has already promised to find some solution and may even roll back of the policy that started in 2008. India flagged this issue in recent months, as it amounted to China favouring Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.