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Chinese PM arrives in Delhi 'to promote friendship'

Last updated on: December 15, 2010 17:15 IST

Chinese PM arrives in Delhi 'to promote friendship'

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday on a three-day visit, which he said was to promote friendship and expand cooperation between the two countries, which have seen comprehensive and rapid progress.

Immediately after his arrival in New Delhi, Wen said, "My current visit is aimed at promoting friendship, expanding cooperation, building on our past achievements and opening up new dimensions for mutual benefit and common development of the two countries."

China and India are connected by mountains and rivers and enjoy a traditional friendship dating back more than 2,000 years, said Wen, adding that this year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two neighbours.

"China-India relations face major opportunities and enjoy broad prospects," the Chinese premier said in a statement, adding that the friendship and cooperation between the two sides have seen comprehensive and rapid progress.

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Image: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrives at the Air Force station Palam in New Delhi
Photographs: PIB
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UNSC, stapled visas for J&K on Wen's agenda

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During his visit, Wen is expected to address some of India's key concerns like those on stapled visas for Jammu and Kashmir residents, its bid for permanent membership in United Nations Security Council and growing trade imbalance when he hold talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

The visit is taking place after elaborate rounds of talks at various levels starting with the candid meeting between Wen and Singh at Hanoi in October, creating high expectations to remove some of the major irritants like stapled visas, which created furore in India.

Accompanied by a biggest delegation ever of 400 businessmen, senior ministers and officials, Wen will begin his stay with a meeting with business community followed by a visit to Tagore International School to interact with children who are learning Chinese language.

This will be followed by his presenting a China-India Friendship award and later attending a private dinner, hosted by Singh.

Image: Wen Jiabao with Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia in New Delhi
Photographs: PIB
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Tibetans protest Wen's arrival

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The Chinese Premier's arrival was also marked by a protest by a group of Tibetans, who staged a demonstration shouting anti-China slogans and waving Tibetan flags.

Six Tibetans were detained as they staged a demonstration outside Taj Palace Hotel, where Wen is staying, while a large group of people marched through the streets in the capital to protest against his visit. The six young protesters shouted slogans against Wen and China outside the hotel on Sardar Patel Marg and demanded that the communist nation "vacate their homeland".

"We protested outside the hotel telling Wen Jiabao that Tibet does not belong to him and China should vacate it," said Tenzin Norsang, who was among the six youths who were detained and taken to Chanakyapuri police station.


Image: ibetan exiles burn an effigy and shout slogans during a protest march against Wen Jiabao in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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Free Tibet Wen, Free Tibet Now, shout protesters

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A large group of Tibetans marched from Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, to Jantar Mantar where they held a meeting. Chanting anti-China slogans and waving Tibetan flags, the protesters demanded that China leave Tibet. They carried placards that read 'Free Tibet Wen, Free Tibet Now'.

A seminar was also held in the capital on 'Rethinking India's Sino-Tibet Policy'.

"At a time when bilateral China-India relation is hitting an all-time low and there are concerted efforts from both sides to salvage the ties and strengthen relations, it is of paramount importance for both the Asian giants to address the Tibet issue which is the core issue," said Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, president of Tibetan Women's Association. Police have stepped up security outside Chinese embassy and the hotel where Wen is staying to ensure that protests do not mar his visit.

India is the first leg of Wen's two-nation trip. He is also to pay an official visit to Pakistan on Friday.


Image: Police detain a Tibetan exile during a protest outside a Delhi hotel
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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