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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Wen Jiabao's visit to activate hotline between PMs

Jayanth Jacob & Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Beijing, December 13, 2010
First Published: 00:23 IST(13/12/2010) | Last Updated: 01:00 IST(13/12/2010)

One of the major political symbolisms of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India from December 15-17 is the likely announcement that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Wen will be on a hotline to each other.

A hotline between heads of government is usually established if bilateral relations are of a sensitive nature, requiring urgent contacts at the highest level, a senior Indian official said.

He added that officials of both countries were working on operationalising the hotline during Wen's three-day visit.

Significantly, though New Delhi usually ensures that visiting dignitaries do not go to Pakistan after being in India, Wen will be an exception. He will be leaving for Pakistan on December 17 on a three-day visit after his trip to India.

Although issues such as India's attendance at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is likely to have some impact on bilateral discussions, both sides will pay a lot of attention to strengthening economic ties.

China means business when Wen travels abroad as Premier of the world's fastest-growing economy. He will be bring with him a 300 member business delegation.

This can be seen from the fact that Chinese businessmen landed in India over the weekend to discuss deals, said to be worth around $ 20 billion, mainly to finance Indian infrastructure projects.

Wen's delegation will include the largest Chinese trade mission to India, signaling Beijing's long-term interest in expanding business relations with New Delhi.

India is expected to pitch for narrowing the trade deficit between the two neighbours, urging China to let its IT and pharmaceutical companies have a bigger share of Beijing's import pie.

"But to address issues of trade deficit, the Chinese should be buying our IT and pharmaceutical products, areas where we have a competitive advantage," a senior Indian official said.

This year bilateral trade is on course to achieve the target of $ 60 billion, up 43% from $ 42 billion in 2009-10, when the trade deficit was $19 billion.

On discussion table


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