President Pranab Mukherjee embarked on a four-day visit to China on Tuesday with an aim to bolster economic ties between the two countries and seek cooperation for combating designs of terror groups.
During his first state visit to China, the President will be meeting his counterpart Xi Jinping, Premier Le Keqiang and other top leaders.
The President is likely to raise the issue of China blocking India’s bid to get a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and its insistence on India signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to get membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
India had countered the Chinese contention of signing NPT before becoming a member of NSG as “confusion” as NPT allows civil nuclear cooperation with non-NPT countries.
Ahead of his state visit to China, Mukherjee said: “We seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question and, pending the boundary settlement, to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas. Both sides should strive to ensure that outstanding issues are addressed in a manner that demonstrates mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations.”
This will be the first visit of Mukherjee to China as President though he has visited the country a number of times in different capacities. The last Presidential visit to China was by Pratibha Patil in 2010.
Mukherjee will also discuss the issue of terrorism with the Chinese leadership.
Before embarking on his visit, Mukherjee asked China to join hands with India in the fight against terrorism which will have “its own impact”.
Mukherjee will begin his visit by arriving in the industrialised Chinese city of Guangzhou, the first Indian leader to so.
Besides interacting with the Indian community, which has over 3,000 businessmen, Mukherjee will also address Sino-India Business Forum to highlight investment opportunities in India.
On the second leg of the visit, Mukherjee will travel to Beijing where he will hold wide-ranging talks with the Chinese leadership on key bilateral, regional and global issues.
A key engagement of the President will be a round table of vice-chancellors of Chinese and Indian universities.
A number of MoUs will be signed between academic institutions of both the countries.
In Beijing, the President will also be talking to students of Peking University. Mukherjee is accompanied by a delegation of academicians including vice-chancellors of two central universities as well as heads of IIT-Delhi and Bhubaneshwar, IIM, Ahmedabad and NIT Nagpur and Agartala.
Union minister Santosh Ganwar and four MPs will also accompany the President as part of the delegation.