Xi Jinping may visit Gujarat during India trip

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Aug 15, 2014 23:31 IST

Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat during his trip to India in September.

Xi will head to India in the third week of September after wrapping up his Pakistan and Sri Lanka tours.

The Chinese authorities are keen that Xi visit at least one more place other than New Delhi where he will have a series of high-level meetings.

Cochin in Kerala was also on the list because of its ancient maritime connections with China.

Though Xi’s itinerary is yet to be officially announced, it is now likely he will now head to Modi’s home state.

Modi himself might accompany Xi during his Gujarat tour.

It was learnt that Chinese officials were also eager that Xi visit New Delhi first before heading to Islamabad and Colombo. Last year, Premier Li Keqiang had visited India first before going to other countries in South Asia; it was his first visit abroad after taking over as Premier.

Chinese officials and the state media had said that Li’s going to India first showed the importance that Beijing gives to Sino-Indian bilateral ties.

But in Xi’s case, the sequence could not be repeated because of President Pranab Mukherjee’s scheduled visit to Vietnam at the same time.

If the Chinese leader does visit Gujarat, it is expected to send a signal of encouragement to potential Chinese investors about the commercial climate of the state.

It is one of the states in India which Chinese businessmen are closely looking at to invest.

Delegations of Chinese officials and businessmen have visited Gujarat in the past months to scour for sites to set up industrial parks. In June, a ‘green energy park’ set up by the Chinese multinational and one of the biggest investors TBEA near Karjan in Vadodara inaugurated. The facility will manufacture transformers and reactors used in generating energy.

Meanwhile, Xi’s visit to India will be preceded by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to China at the end of this month when she will take part in trilateral talks between India, China and Russia.

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