Xi Jinping’s visit: India hopes for ‘directional change’ in ties with China

modi-china-brazilAhead of the much-publicised visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to India, the two emerging Asian powers have struck an optimistic note that the forthcoming trip by the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong will positively transform relations between the two Asian giants.

The Chinese president is scheduled to begin his three-day visit to India September 17, which has coincided with the birthday of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The choice of Ahamedabad, the capital of Modi’s home state Gujarat, as the first leg of his India visit underlines the keen desire of the Chinese leader to forge close equations with the business-friendly Indian leader.

Sino-Indian relations will see a “directional change” with Xi Jinping’s visit to the country next week, said India’s Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on September 10.

“After fifty years, China-India relations will get a directional change. Mutual relations will improve.”

Focus on Business

During the visit, Asia’s leading economies will make a renewed push to enhance commercial engagement and bolster cooperation on a host of geo-political issues. On September 9, India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who held wide-ranging talks with President XI Jinping and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said that it was time India and China sent a clear signal to the world that the phase of Sino-Indian animosity was behind them.

During the forthcoming visit by the Chinese president Xi Jinping, the two countries are hoping to clinch a host of pacts, including the unveiling of China’s USD 5 billion investment in setting up two dedicated industrial parks for Chinese companies in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Sitharaman added that while the massive trade deficit, amounting to around 30 billion USD, was a cause of concern for India, China has shown interest in manufacturing products here, a move that is expected to bridge the gap and set the stage for acceleration of economic ties.

“Manufacturing in China and selling in India is not looking favourable to India. We believe this visit will present a good scope for increasing China’s investment and trade with India,” Sitharaman said.

Speaking about the breakdown of talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, Sitharaman added that China and many other members have expressed their appreciation for India’s stand on issue of food security.

China hopes for ‘a new era’

China is hoping that Xi’s visit will usher in a new era in India-China relations, which often get mired in scenarios of competition and rivalry. Xi’s visit would pave the way for “another era” in Sino-Indian ties, embedded with strong “strategic” resonance, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao told visiting Indian journalists in Beijing.

“Imagine the contribution it would make to human civilisation if China and India began to work together for the development and progress of 2.5 billion people,” stressed Liu.

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