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PM, China prez to exchange visits in 2006
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January 22, 2006 23:28 IST

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] are expected to undertake bilateral visits in 2006 as part of the nearly 50 events arranged to mark the first-ever 'Year of China-India Friendship', official sources said.

The exchange of high-level visits, which have played an important role in maintaining and developing India-China relationship in recent years was discussed recently between senior Indian and Chinese Foreign Ministry officials.

"We have discussed the calendar of high level visits, which, of course, as you know, have played an important role in maintaining the momentum in our relationship. We are looking forward to the visit of President Hu to India and the Chinese side has also invited your PM to visit China," an official source said on Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran's meeting with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Wu Dawei.

"The Year of India-China Friendship which both sides are celebrating in 2006 will be marked by a host of activities that we have agreed upon," Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi told PTI.

Sun noted that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh jointly declared the year 2006 as the "Year of China-India Friendship' during Wen's successful visit to New Delhi in April, 2005.

It was the first time for the two countries to jointly launch such an activity in the 2,000-year history of friendly exchanges between China and India, he noted.

More than 50 activities will be held by both sides covering political, defence, economic and trade, culture and tourism, education, science and technology fields, Sun, who had recently launched the year-long activities in New Delhi at the Chinese Embassy premises, said.

"The 'China-India Friendship Year' is just the beginning of developing friendly relations upon new stage between our two countries. It is also believed the friendship among two billion people will greatly help to build friendship among all nations in the world," he noted.

Sun said the friendship year activities have been kicked off with top leadership of the two counties exchanging congratulatory messages under which Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, and President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to each other, expressing strong desire to strengthen friendly and
good-neighbourly relations.


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