Biggest ever trade delegation arriving with Chinese premier

Biggest ever trade delegation arriving with Chinese premier

Beijing: On a fence mending visit to put strained ties back on track, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s upcoming trip to New Delhi would be a mix of diplomacy,culture and trade with $20 billion business deals to be signed.

Heading the biggest ever delegation of 400 businessmen, Wen would be arriving in New Delhi on a three day visit on 15 December.

His delegation included senior executives of some of the top Chinese business houses. Officials of the trade bodies here say that the two sides plan to sign deals worth about $20 billion and discussions were on to constitute a CEO forum on the lines of India-US CEO forum set up in 2005 with top industrialists from both sides.

Twenty billion dollars of deals involving buying and selling during the Prime Minister’s visit was expected to take place, and the majority of the MoUs planned to be signed during the meeting were project finance deals.

It included formalisation of the recent $10 billion deal between Reliance Power and Shanghai Electric Group Co, (SEC) to supply of 36 coal-fired thermal power generation units as well as by Adani group.

E B Rajesh, chief China representative of Confederation of Indian Industry, (CII) which is hosting the India-China Business Forum in New Delhi said the business forum to be held on 15 December would also be addressed by Chinese trade minister, Gao Hucheng.

“It is a good opportunity for interaction between Indian and Chinese businessmen," he said.

Over 300 Chinese businessmen have already obtained visas to travel to New Delhi while over 100 officials Chinese companies like telecom major Huawei were expected to attend the meeting, officials here said.

Expectations were high that Wen would announce measures to allow more Indian products into Chinese markets to reduce trade imbalance.

The booming bilateral trade which is on course to touch $60 billion has already crossed $49.84 billion this October with Indian exports amounting to $17 billion, while China continue to dominate with 32.87 billion worth of exports.

The visit of 68-year-old Chinese leader has a cultural component this time as he is scheduled to practice his favourite past time Tai Chi, which he performs in open even during his foreign visits.

Many Chinese say that like Yoga, Tai Chi with its slow and focussed body movements promotes physical fitness coupled with spiritual thinking.

Wen will be practicing Tai Chi as well as Chinese calligraphy with the children of a Delhi based school during his visit. The Chinese leader also may also announce assistance to aid India’s plan to introduce Chinese language Mandarin in schools.

India’s plans to introduce Mandarin in CBSE syllabus were announced by human resources minister Kapil Sibal during his recent visit.

India had sought Chinese assistance to provide teachers for the course. Wen along with Singh would also attend a special function being held in India to formally end the celebrations being held in both the countries for several months to mark the establishment of 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On the political front officials expects the visit to go a lot smoother in the light of China’s assurances to find some solution to end its policy to issue stapled visas to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir which created a furore in India.

In the light of this the two sides may discuss resumption of defence exchanges if an acceptable solution was found. India put on a hold defence exchanges after the denial of visa to top Indian General, B S Jaswal on the ground that he headed troops in Jammu and Kashmir region.

Wen would be proceeding to Pakistan on December 17 for a three day visit.