Chinese premier arrives on three-day visit next week

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NEW DELHI - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will arrive here on a three-day state visit next week, attempting to put onto track bilateral relations which had hit a rocky patch this year - and a few days after India attends the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for the Chinese dissident leader in Oslo.

The external affairs ministry announced Tuesday said Wen will pay a state visit to India Dec 15-17 at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The visit comes as India has reportedly decided to attend the ceremony to award the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobao. The Norwegian peace prize committee has told the New York Times that India has confirmed that it will be attending the ceremony Dec 10.

The Chinese government had asked countries to stay away from the ceremony, and 19 nations have reportedly declined to attend.

Wen’s visit also comes in a season of high-level foreign visits in India, which included the trip by US President Barack Obama in November and visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which ended Tuesday. Russian President Dimitry Medvedev is scheduled to arrive later this month.

Earlier this year, British Prime Minister David Cameron had come to India soon after his election. This will make sure that all the leaders of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council will be visiting India within one year.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao last week indicated that bilateral relations can become stronger if China showed more concern for India’s core concerns.

“We believe that the India-China relationship will grow even stronger as China shows more sensitivity on core issues that impinge on our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope this can be realised,” she said at a seminar on ‘India-China relations’.

She raised this point in relation to India’s concerns “regarding some aspects of the China-Pakistan relationship, particularly when it comes to China’s role in PoK (Pakistan-administered Kashmir), China’s Jammu and Kashmir policy and the Sino-Pak security and nuclear relationship”.

“The need for mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns cannot be denied. The issue of giving stapled visas to Indian nationals from the state of Jammu and Kashmir arises in a similar context,” said Rao.

She indicated that all such issues would be raised during the visit of Premier Wen next week.

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