The Indian and Chinese governments on Tuesday simultaneously announced the forthcoming visit of President Hu Jintao to India. President Hu will arrive on his maiden visit to India on November 20, in what officials are calling a “fitting culmination” of the India-China Friendship Year, presently in progress. High on the agenda during what is being called a “landmark” visit will be consolidation of the enhanced strategic aspects of the bilateral relationship and expanding trade and commercial relations.
Hu’s four day state visit to India, between November 20 and 23 is at the invitation of his Indian counterpart, President APJ Abdul Kalam, and will also see him travel to Agra and Mumbai, a release from the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Hu, who is also General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) will hold detailed discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the entire gamut of bilateral relations. Special Representatives of both countries are scheduled to meet in India prior to his visit to prepare a “framework” within which a resolution of the troubled boundary issue can ultimately be placed, Chinese diplomats said.
During the visit, the possibility of signing an agreement on the establishment of a Regional Trade Arrangement is likely to be explored, officials said. Trade between the two Asian giants, both among the world's fastest growing economies, has expanded rapidly in recent years, expanding at close to 40 per cent annually. It is expected to pass the 20 billion dollar mark this year.
The high symbolic point of expanding commercial relations between the two countries was the reopening of a cross-border trading point at the Nathu La Pass (in Sikkim) in July this year, 44 years after trade ended in the wake of the 1962 border war between the two countries.
Hu is scheduled to visit Pakistan after he leaves Mumbai, from November 23 to 26.