India is keen to roll out the red carpet for China’s vice-president Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao as the country’s president next year.
Such a visit, sources told HT, could boost bilateral ties, besides providing an opportunity to know the next president’s take on India-China relations. “We hope Xi will visit India soon. We have been planning it for a while,” said an Indian official.
Xi, 57, also a former governor of the Fujian province, has presided over booming areas, such as Shanghai, on the east coast of China.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao will meet on the sidelines of the East Asia summit in Bali on Friday. Both sides made the right noises over the boundary deployment issue.
“When was the last time a casualty happened on India-China border. It was in 1974, and that too was an accident,” said an Indian official, who cited growing trade ties with China.
“There are boundary disputes, but the two sides are committed to resolving them through dialogue and consultations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said at a briefing in Beijing. He was answering a query on India’s recently announced $13 bn military modernisation plan.
“We will take further measures to enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples,” he said. “At the moment, the two sides are in close contact over the special representatives meeting on the border issue (to take place in Delhi on November 28). And, both sides have expressed the will to enhance cooperation,” said Liu.
Indian officials said there are various sensitivities involved. But, they added, India should be laying down the rules of engagement on the strength of its markets and purchasing power. (With agency inputs)