Xi Jinping in Gujarat: Three pacts inked, big-ticket outcomes in Delhi

PengIt was business from the word go. Barely hours after China’s President Xi Jinping began a three-day trip to India, the two Asian neighbours have signed three agreements, including a pact that will enable China to set up a sprawling industrial park in Gujarat.

In a special gesture, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew down to Ahmedabad to receive his Chinese guest. The two leaders sat down for informal talks September 17, following which three agreements were signed in their presence.

Pacts were signed between China Development Bank (CDB) and Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb) of the Gujarat government for the development an industrial park in India’s western state that has become a byword for modernisation and industrial development.

Another pact was signed between China’s Guangdong province and the Gujarat government. A third MoU was signed between Guangzhou and Ahmedabad cities for cultural exchange.

This is the first time a Chinese leader has begun his visit to India outside Delhi, signalling the new Indian leader’s emphasis on a bigger profile for India’s states in the country’s multifarious diplomacy. Xi has been accompanied on his maiden trip to India by First Lady Peng Liyuan and a 50-member business delegation.

The visit of the Chinese president is bristling with great expectations as both sides are leaving no stone unturned to make the trip a milestone in the history of India-China relations.

The two leaders will hold their first full-spectrum meeting in New Delhi September 18, which will be followed by the signing of a slew of agreements that are expected to impart a fresh momentum to bilateral ties between the two Asian powers that is prone to get mired in trust deficit.

China is expected to unveil a massive package of around $100 billion for bolstering infrastructure development in India that will include setting up of dedicated industrial parks and China’s assistance for modernisation of Indian Railways.

In an article in The Hindu, an Indian daily, on September 17, Xi Jinping wrote:  “China and India are both faced with historic opportunities, and our respective dreams of national renewal are very much aligned with each other. We need to connect our development strategies more closely and jointly pursue our common dream of national strength and prosperity.”

“According to Prime Minister Modi, China and India are “two bodies, one spirit.” I appreciate this comment. Despite their distinctive features, the “Chinese Dragon” and the “Indian Elephant” both cherish peace, equity and justice.

He added: “I am confident that as long as China and India work together, the Asian century of prosperity and renewal will surely arrive at an early date.”

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