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Home > News > Report

'Dr Singh's China visit will be low key and successful'

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | January 08, 2008 00:21 IST
Last Updated: January 09, 2008 12:40 IST


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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] first official visit to China, between January 13 and January 15, will be a low-key affair. He will not visit any city other than Beijing [Images].

He will be accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, Commerce minister Kamal Nath and National Security Advisor M K Narayanan.

Dr Singh is unlikely to visit any of China's major tourist attractions, including the Great Wall of China or the Forbidden City. His trip aims at enhancing business relations and pushing forward pending bilateral issues.

"From both sides, you should expect maturity, the promise of continuing stability in the region, the absence of uncertainties in spite of unresolved border issues and emphasis on economic relations," a source in the Prime Minister's Office told Rediff.com

Dr Singh will focus on improving business relations with China rather than political ties.

Both countries want to grow and compete with other major economies. The domestic pressure to grow is compelling both sides to maintain a steady and mature relationship. So far, both sides have successfully managed to prevent any negative fallout from the unresolved border issues affect their growing economic relations.

Dr Singh's visit will be low key and successful like recent Chinese leaders' visits to India, sources said.

Sources said the visit will be "no-nonsense", but fruitful in maintaining the stability and goodwill in bilateral relations. Various agreements will be finalised during Dr Singh's visit, but no dramatic results are expected on the border dispute.

Last week External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told PTI editors that no dramatic results should be expected from the visit. 'The visit is expected to be successful. But if you are expecting a dramatic turnaround on certain issues, which are long pending, then it would perhaps be too much,' Mukherjee had said.

Dr Singh will leave for China at 8.30 pm on Saturday. He will begin his visit with an informal meal with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Sunday.

On Monday morning, Dr Singh will address the India-China Business and Economic Forum, where industrialists and investors from both countries will meet each other.

Later, Dr Singh and President Hu Jintao will discuss bilateral issues. On Monday, President Hu will host a banquet in Dr Singh's honour.

On Tuesday, Dr Singh will address the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. CASS, a government think-tank, has 32 research institutes, three research centres and a graduate school under its auspices.

Over 3,045 researchers, half of them senior professors, work at CASS, covering 300 research topics. Dr Singh will speak on India and China in the global economy at CASS.

The unresolved border dispute, the nuclear agreement with the United States, terrorism and trade-related disputes will be taken up during the talks with the Chinese leaders.

Dr Singh's foreign policy is considered to be America-centric by his critics, but sources said the United Progressive Alliance government "hasn't done anything to provoke China."

Dr Singh's message to the Chinese leadership will be similar to that of his predecessors Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee who visited China in 1988, 1993 and 2003 respectively.

"India wants a stable Asia. The improvement in bilateral relations will be helpful in developing the economies of both countries. Both India and China should continue to grow in a mature way," sources said.

Dr Singh is likely to stick to conventional diplomacy on his business-like tour of Beijing.






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