Beijing: Top Indian and Chinese officials on Tuesday finalised President Xi Jinping's maiden visit to India, including the programme and key issues to be discussed, amid indications that he may begin his tour in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat on September 16.
The final touches to next week's high-profile visit, the schedule of which was kept under wraps, were given by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who met Xi today and handed over a personal letter from Prime Minister Modi.
Welcoming Doval, Xi said his visit to finalise the programme testifies the great importance placed by Modi and the Indian government to the overall relationship with China.
"It also sends a positive signal to the outside world and I appreciate that," Xi also the general-secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) told Doval.
Referring to his first meeting with Modi at Fortaleza in Brazil in July on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, Xi said, "I am happy about the great conversation I have had with Modi. During that meeting China and India leaders reached an important agreement," he said.
"We both agreed that the China-India relationship is a relationship of important strategic implications and we believe that by upholding our shared interests and deepening our cooperation will not only promote our respective national development but also serve the benefits of our two countries and two peoples," Xi said.
"In this way we will have important implications for the region and the world and also make important contributions to the region and whole world," he said.
Stating that he looked forward to his India visit, Xi said "I believe this visit will give me a better understanding of the development accomplishments of India and of the various cooperation between the two countries.
"I believe we will work together with Prime Minister Modi and Indian government to elevate our bilateral relations to a new level," he said.
Reciprocating the sentiments, Doval said he was "privileged" to meet Xi and handed over a special message from Modi.
"Right from the time you had the meeting in Fortaleza where it was decided you will be visiting India some time in September, Prime Minister Modi was extremely keen that you must visit his home state," Doval said.
"He has developed so much respect for you and personal regard for you that he must have mentioned his meeting with you many times to us. He mentioned to you also about the place the great Chinese philosopher Xuan Zang visited Vadhnagar, Prime Minister Modi's own village," he said.
Earlier, Doval had talks with State Councillor, Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi.
Both sides declined to divulge the details of Xi's visit.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has announced that Xi's visit to the subcontinent covering the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India would be held between September 14-19.
Before that Xi would attend attend the 14th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The Maldives has been added to his programme following the cancellation of his Pakistan visit due to the political turmoil there.
The date of Xi's visit to India was expected to be announced jointly in India and Beijing at a mutually agreed date, Doval told the Indian media.
Indications are that Xi will arrive directly in Ahmedabad on September 16, and later go to New Delhi before flying back home on September 19.