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Krishna in China; to hold talks with top leaders

By K J M Varma
February 07, 2012 21:00 IST
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A wide range of bilateral and global issues, including trade and developments relating to Syria and Iran, are likely to figure in talks External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will have with top Chinese leaders during his visit here to inaugurate the new USD 10 million Indian embassy building.

Krishna, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday night by a special flight on a three-day visit, will hold talks with four Chinese leaders in Beijing on Wednesday on Sino-India ties.

Though his visit is a private one, mainly to inaugurate the new USD 10 million (Rs 52 crore) embassy building on Wednesday, China has lined up meetings with four of its key leaders with Krishna, setting aside protocol and signifying the importance it attached to Sino-Indian relations.

Krishna's visit assumes significance as he is set to hold talks with the Chinese leaders on various aspects of the Sino-India ties, which have witnessed several ups and downs in recent months, Indian officials said.

His talks are expected to cover a wide range of global issues, especially developments relating to Syria and Iran, besides bilateral trade which touched a record USD 74 billion (Rs 3,84,800 crore)last year.

Krishna would begin his day by meeting Zhou Yongkong, who is the ninth ranked member of the nine-member politburo standing committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

Zhou, who also looks after the security aspects of China, had visited India in 2010 and met several leaders there, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

It was after this visit that China had tacitly agreed to reverse its policy of giving visas on a separate piece of paper to residents of Jammu and Kashmir which had drawn strong opposition from India.

After meeting Zhou, Krishna would have a luncheon meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. The two are set to discuss various issues concerning bilateral ties, officials said.

He would later meet Wang Jiarui, a senior official of the international department of the Communist Party of China, followed by a meeting with top diplomat and State Counsellor, Dai Bingguo, who visited New Delhi last month to take part in the 15th round of India-China border talks.

Indian officials regard the four meetings as significant as they demonstrate the importance China attaches to his visit to Beijing, even though it is for the purpose of inaugurating the embassy building.

Chinese hold Krishna in high regard as they believe he had brought a calming influence on the bilateral ties, when they hit roadblocks.

Also, a senior Chinese official is expected to be present at the inauguration ceremony of the Indian embassy's new sand stone building.

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K J M Varma in Beijing
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