Indian PM seeks to bolster ties with China visit next week

Almost a year into assuming the top office, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay his first official visit to China beginning Thursday, May 14, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The trip will last three days.

Modi’s visit is at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing.

On Monday, the Indian Prime Minister set up his first official account on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

During his trip, Modi will hold trade talks with his counterpart Li Keqiang and also with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and Xi’an.

Xi and Modi will also meet in July for the 7th BRICS Summit in the Russian city of Ufa.

On July 15, 2014 the member countries signed an agreement to establish the $100 billion BRICS New Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth another $100 billion. The bank is a rival to western financial systems and is expected to counter their influence on the global economy.

India had also signed on as a founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) last year.

Despite a border dispute between the two neighbours, China and India have seen growing trade and commercial ties.

China and India share a 2,000-km-long border that has never been formally delineated. The two countries began discussing border issues in the 1980s.

To boost tourism the two countries had set 2015 as the “Visit India Year in China” while 2016 will be the “Visit China Year in India”. Bilateral trade in 2014 topped $70.6 billion.

China and India are also working on the ambitious “Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-China” (BIMC) economic corridor, a region host to 40 per cent of the world’s population. The planned corridor would run from Kunming to Kolkata, linking Mandalay in Myanmar as well as Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh.

During the Chinese President’s visit to India last year, New Delhi and Beijing signed 12 agreements on trade and economic cooperation, covering fields such as industrial parks, railways, credit and leasing, with cumulative investments and financing worth $13 billion.

“President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will hold comprehensive, wide-ranging and in-depth discussions with Prime Minister Modi on areas of bilateral, strategic and pragmatic cooperation, cultural and local exchange, and major international issues. Modi will have an opportunity to communicate with China’s business people, young students and other citizens. Companies from both sides are also preparing a series of cooperative projects,” Chinese envoy to India Le Yucheng told Indian daily The Hindu.

Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of the holding company of the Tata conglomerate, last month acquired a stake in China’s Xiaomi Technology. Xiaomi, the No. 3 global smartphone maker, was valued at $45 billion after a December funding round.



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