India, China to use Patil`s visit to deepen ties

As President Pratibha Patil embarks on a six-day state visit to China tomorrow, the two countries pledged to utilise it to deepen and expand their strategic cooperation.

Updated: May 25, 2010, 22:01 PM IST

New Delhi/Beijing: As President Pratibha
Patil embarks on a six-day state visit to China tomorrow, the
two countries pledged to utilise it to deepen and expand their
strategic cooperation.

Ahead of the first visit by an Indian Head of State to
China in a decade, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told
reporters in New Delhi, "It also signals our unequivocal
commitment to deepen and expand our Strategic and Cooperative
Partnership with China."

In Beijing, the President will have extensive talks with
her counterpart Hu Jintao, Rao said, adding she will also meet
with other seniormost Chinese leaders including Chairman of
the National People`s Congress Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao
and Chairman of the Chinese People`s Political Consultative
Conference Jia Qinglin.

"We are confident that Rashtrapatiji`s visit will be
instrumental in re-affirming and enhancing the long-standing
ties of friendship between our two nations and our two
peoples," the Foreign Secretary said.

When asked whether India will take up contentious issues
such as issuance of stapled visas by China, involvement of
Chinese companies in various projects in Pakistan-occupied-
Kashmir and China`s help to Pakistan in building two nuclear
reactors, Rao sad "all bilateral issues and the situation in
the region will be discussed."

But she also maintained that these issues were always
under discussion with the Chinese side to "safeguard our
legitimate concerns" and said the relationship between the two
countries should not be predicated on one or two issues alone.

"I would like to note that developing friendly
cooperation with China has been one of the priorities of our
foreign policy and we are pleased that our relations are
becoming truly multifaceted," she added.

On whether India would also seek support from China for
its bid for a UN Security Council seat during the forthcoming
visit, the Foreign Secretary said, "They have taken note of
our legitimate aspirations for a greater role in the UN and
more specifically, in the UNSC."

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang
Yu said, "We welcome President Patil`s visit to China".

"With this opportunity we will deepen bilateral
understanding and cooperation to upgrade China and India
relations to a higher level," Jiang said.

Jiang said the visit is taking place when Sino-Indian
relations are developing in a "comprehensive and fast manner
as evidenced by frequent visits of high-level delegations to
each other`s countries deepening the political mutual trust,
progress and cooperation in various fields in major
international and regional issues".

The visit of President, who is accompanied by Minister
of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay, three MPs and
a high-level official delegation, is also expected to give
boost to business ties between the two countries.

Bilateral trade between the two countries grew 34 per
cent in 2008 to touch USD 51.8 billion, though in 2009 it
slipped to USD 43.27 billion due to global recession.

During her visit, Patil would also travel to Loyang,
where the famous White Horse Buddhist temple was built in 68
AD when Buddhism was introduced in China by Chinese Monk
Xuanzan after a 17-year-long voyage.

As a gesture of goodwill and friendship, India has built
a Buddhist temple close to it, which Patil will inaugurate.

She will also travel to Shanghai and visit India and
China Pavilions at the Shanghai Expo.

-PTI