Grand welcome for Chinese president Xi in Modi's Ahmedabad, 3 MoUs signed
Chinese president Xi Jinping arrived in Ahmedabad on Wednesday afternoon on a three-day visit which will focus on significantly ramping up trade and investment besides addressing contentious border issues.Updated: Sep 17, 2014 18:47 IST
Chinese President Xi Jinping was given a grand welcome when he arrived in Ahmedabad for a three day day visit of India.
Jinping, who arrived here from Sri Lanka, was welcomed by Gujarat Governor O P Kohli and Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, as well as the state cabinet ministers.
On his arrival, Xi was accorded a police guard of honour. Highlighting the importance New Delhi is attaching to his
visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to receive him in the city.
Later the two sides signed three MoUs in the presence of both the leaders.
One of the MoUs is between China Development Bank (CDB) and Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb) of Gujarat government and relates to development of industrial parks in the state.
Another pact was signed between China's Guangdong province and Gujarat government. And the third MoU was between Guangzhou and Ahmedabad cities for cultural exchange.
India expects that the visit will address "interests and concerns" of both the countries and that "all substantive" issues which have bearing on the ties including the boundary dispute will be discussed.
Keen to boost trade ties, the Chinese side has already indicated that it will pledge to invest billions of dollars in India's railway, manufacturing and infrastructure projects during Xi's visit, the third by any Chinese president to India.
Highlighting the importance New Delhi is attaching to Xi's visit, Modi received the Chinese president in Ahmedabad. Modi said India seeks greater engagement with China but at the same time sought progress on "issues of concern".
"I am looking forward to deepening our engagement across the full spectrum of our bilateral relations, but also seeking progress on issues of concern, because resolution of these issues will transform the atmosphere in our relations and allow us to realise the full potential of our relations," he said.
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President Xi is accompanied by a high-level delegation including two senior members of the politburo of the Communist party of China and the Chinese Commerce Minister.
The Chinese president will visit Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram and will spend some time along with Modi who will host a private dinner for the Chinese president at the Sabarmati riverfront.
Top industrialists from both the countries will take part in the business meet. The dinner to be served at a dome on the Sabarmati riverfront will consist of only Gujarati delicacies.
Foolproof security is in place for Xi's visit. Gujarat police with the help from central security agencies have made necessary arrangements.
Xi will leave for Delhi after dinner in Ahmedabad. Modi and Xi will hold extensive talks on Thursday in Delhi following which they are expected to sign a number of pacts which will provide for Chinese investments in a range of areas including railways and industrial parks.
Largely described as a visit to focus on economic and trade issues, Xi is expected to announce large scale Chinese investments in railways, manufacturing as well as infrastructure rivalling Japan's $35 billion commitment made during Modi's recent visit to Tokyo.
Read: How PM Modi is reaching out to China via Japan
Chinese officials say that China would be committing anywhere between $100 billion to $300 billion in the modernisation of Indian railways, establishing of industrial parks as well as investment in mega infrastructure projects.
China's foreign exchange reserves, the largest in the world, reached a record $3.95 trillion in March and it plans to invest around $500 billion overseas in the next five years, a large share of which is expected to find India's way.
Xi will be accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, state councillor Yang Jiechi, who was earlier foreign minister, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng besides a number of businessmen and other leaders.
60-year-old Xi, who took over as the head of the ruling Communist Party in 2012 and President and military chief in March last year, had been sending clear signals of boosting bilateral relations with India.
Xi's visit is the third by any Chinese president to India. President Hu Jintao had visited India in 2006 and Jiang Zemin had come here in 1996.
First Published: Sep 17, 2014 13:38 IST