Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi yesterday afternoon on the first leg of his maiden diplomatic trip, calling for deepening mutual trust and co-operation between the two Asian powers, which had a tense border stand-off last month.
“China and India are friendly neighbours connected by common mountains and rivers,” Li said. “For millenniums, the Chinese and the Indian civilisations have drawn splendour from each other through exchanges and made significant contributions to the progress of mankind.”
Li added that he was confident his visit would help in enhancing communication, deepening co-operation, increasing mutual trust and cementing ties.
The visit would provide “new impetus to the strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity between China and India”, he said.
Delegation-level talks between the two sides are scheduled for today, with topics ranging from border issues to trade imbalances. Li is to attend a business summit in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, on Tuesday, among other activities.
India has been pressing for greater access to mainland markets, as its trade deficit with China totalled US$29 billion last year. China is India’s biggest trading partner.
New Delhi also seeks assurance that a Chinese plan to build three more hydropower dams across the Brahmaputra River, known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, will not affect India’s downstream water flow.
Other irritants in bilateral ties including Beijing’s close relationship with Pakistan, India’s bitter rival, and the presence in India of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile.
The border spat last month had threatened to see Li’s visit called off, but the Indian government chose to go ahead with the trip, highlighting its policy of trying to widen areas of co-operation with China while attempting to resolve key differences.
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Categories: Politics & Law