The usual mix of a Bollywood evening, the presence of a handful of companies and a pavilion marked India’s first ever presence at the 3rd China-Eurasia Expo in Urumqi in northwest China.
More than 40 countries are participating in the expo that has generated keen interest among the residents of Urumqi which had historical trade links with countries in Central Asia through a route that passed through India.
Until three years ago, an international trade fair was held here before it was upgraded by the Chinese government to an expo.
But the city has seen ethnic violence between the minority Uyghur community and China’s majority ethnic group, the Hans in recent years; in 2009, nearly 200 people were killed in the city after members of the two groups clashed.
And, with heads of some states and top officials attending, Chinese authorities literally locked down the venue. Roads leading to it were blocked with military and police personnel were deployed on guard all round.
For India, the expo is an opportunity to attract Chinese investment into the country. The lead in this case has been taken by the state government of Andhra Pradesh. Major participants include State Bank of India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Thermax, LMW Textile Machinery (Suzhou) Co Ltd, Infotech among others.