President receives red carpet welcome in China



Beijing: President Pratibha Patil Wednesday arrived here to a red carpet welcome as the first Indian Head of the State to visit China in a decade for visit during which she will meet the top Chinese leadership and sign a number of agreements.

Patil, who arrived at the Beijing International Airport, was warmly welcomed by Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue and Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar.

During her six-day visit, the President will meet her Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, Chairman of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao to discuss ways and means to expand the bilateral ties.

All bilateral issues and the situation in the region will be discussed during these meetings.

Political dialogue, cultural diplomacy and economic cooperation will be three crucial components of the visit, which the two countries pledged to utilise to deepen and expand their strategic cooperation.

Besides Beijing, Patil will also travel to Loyang in central China, where she will inaugurate the famous White Horse Buddhist temple, and Shanghai to visit India and China Pavilions at the Shanghai Expo 2010 and address members of India-China business forum.

Ahead of her visit, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said in New Delhi that Patil's visit also "signals our unequivocal commitment to deepen and expand our Strategic and Cooperative Partnership with China."

A number of agreements are under discussion between the two countries and are likely to be signed during the visit.

China had yesterday said the two countries would use the opportunity to deepen their bilateral understanding and cooperation to upgrade the Sino-India relations to a higher level.

"We welcome President Patil's visit to China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu had said.

PTI