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PM Singh's visit to enhance mutual trust: China

Besides meeting the top leadership of the Communist country over discussions on issues like the festering border dispute and trade imbalance, Singh is expected to take a stroll through the Forbidden City from where for centuries Chinese kings and queens had ruled this vast nation.

world Updated: Oct 21, 2013 20:48 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

It will not be all work for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his China visit beginning Tuesday night.

Besides meeting the top leadership of the Communist country over discussions on heavy, contentious issues like the festering border dispute and trade imbalance, attending plush banquets and giving a rare lecture at the elite Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Party School during a packed less-than two-day schedule, Singh is expected to take a stroll through the Forbidden City from where for centuries Chinese kings and queens had ruled this vast nation.

During his visit to the Forbidden City, a located in the heart of Beijing and a maze of historic buildings, Singh is likely to be accompanied by Premier Li Keqiang.

Li had himself visited India’s signature tourist site, the Taj Mahal when he had toured the country in 1986.

The brief break could give Singh a breather between his talks with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li and the head of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang.

Singh’s return visit to China – after Li’s India visit in May this year – is being described as one with “strategic significance” by the government here.

The visit is an opportunity to strengthen “mutual trust” and “practical cooperation”, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said on Monday.

“Mutual trust” is precisely what the bilateral relationship between the two countries lack, one of China’s leading academics, Professor Yan Xuetong, head of the prestigious Tsinghua University’s Institute of Modern International Relation, had recently told HT.

“We hope to strengthen our political mutual trust, promote practical cooperation, deepen cultural and people to people exchanges between our two countries and enhance coordination and cooperation between our two countries on major international and regional issues,” Hua said at the regular press briefing on Monday.

“China and India are two largest developing countries and important emerging markets. The relationship between our two countries has assumed strategic significance and global implication,” Hua added.

Hua said Li will hold talks with Singh and they will jointly sign a series of cooperation agreements and jointly meet the press and representatives of the business sector.

During the visit, the second meeting of the India- China CEO Forum would be held with an aim to initiate the recovery of the sagging bilateral trade.

The meeting of the high profile Forum co-chaired by Anil Ambani, head of the Reliance Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group, would be held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 23.

The two prime ministers were expected to meet the top CEOs from both the countries, signifying the importance attached by the two nations to the role to be played by the Forum to boost the trade which has declined to about $66 billion from a high of $74 billion in 2011.

Senior representatives from the Essar Group, Tata Consultancy Services and Mahindra and Mahindra among others will be part of the Indian business delegation.

The Chinese side will be represented Hu Huaibang, head of the China Development Bank.