Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang’s invitation to pay an early visit to China. The invitation was extended by special envoy of president Xi Jinping and foreign minister Wang Yi during his meeting with Modi on Monday.
Wang also had a special message for Modi from Xi: “Under your leadership, India will achieve greater development and progress. India and China are partners in long- term strategic cooperation.”
In his 45-minute chat with Modi, Wang offered Chinese expertise in the fields of infrastructure and manufacturing in lieu of Indian expertise in software development. He also heralded the ‘winds of change’ in India under the new government.
Despite the bonhomie, the matter of China issuing stapled visas to people of Arunachal remained a thorn. In the presser after the meeting, Wang said the visas were a ‘gesture of goodwill’ and indicated that China would not change its stance. But he stressed that the countries had the capability to address issues arising out of border disputes. The stapled visas issue had halted a liberal visa agreement between the two countries in the past.
Echoing Xi’s message for cooperation, Modi said they were “looking forward to working with the Chinese leadership to expand partnership”.
Referring to the visit of the 7th century Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang to a monk training school near his village in Gujarat, PM Modi said, “India and China share strong civilisational contacts and should build on them to enhance understanding of each other.” Modi’s earlier reference to Hieun had been very positively received by the Chinese media.
Wang also conveyed to Modi that China was willing to help India in its journey to progress by assisting it with bullet trains and highway projects. He also said that only one in 100 Chinese international tourist came to India and called for greater people-to-people interaction.