Wen to visit India with biggest ever Chinese trade delegation

Wen to visit India with biggest ever Chinese trade delegation

Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will arrive in India next week with the biggest ever trade delegation of over 400 businessmen, signalling that the focus of his “landmark" visit would be to give further impetus to the already booming bilateral trade.

Officials on both sides say that in many ways the visit of 68-year-old veteran Chinese leader would be a trend setter in bilateral ties like his last visit in 2005, which saw relations surging forward specially on trade front which this year is expected to touch a record $60 billion.

The Sino-India trade tottered around $18.71 billion in 2005, it already crossed $49.84 billion this October with Indian exports alone touching along $17 billion, while China continue to have a sway with 32.87 billion worth of exports.

During his three-day visit from 15 December, Wen is expected to announce initiatives to address trade deficit which also touched a record $15.9 billion this year to provide more access to Indian products in Chinese markets.

The scale of bilateral trade in one way reflects the extent Sino-India relations travelled since 2005 says Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar.

“The visit in a sense is to expand common ground. We have to demonstrate cooperation on the ground in all its manifestations. We have come a long way and we have to find practical ways of cooperation, which will finally shape public perception of the state of the ties," Jaishankar, who is holding extensive consultations with top Chinese officials to make preparations for Wen’s visit, told PTI.

As the two countries strive to narrow down the differences, they have to seek a common ground to manage the relationship.

“We have to manage our differences and maximise our opportunities," he said, declining to go into differences relating to host of issues which officials of the two countries feverishly trying to sort out following the meeting between Wen and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in October.

Wen’s visit will once again bring together the two Prime Ministers, what Jaishankar describes as meeting between “two great pragmatists".

It appears that one has to wait to know about the “major take-aways" of the visit as preparations are still continuing.

Speculation is rife that the two countries may sign a number of agreements and MOUs mostly relating to trade, business and economic issues, including enhancing ties in banking sectors.

All these things will be known only few days before the visit as talks are still progressing, Jaishankar said.