New Delhi: The stage is all set for one of the biggest diplomatic events of the year as Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in India on Wednesday for a 3-day visit. Breaking the protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would personally receive Jinping in Ahmedabad as a special gesture. While all contentious and substantive bilateral, regional and global issues would be discussed, economic co-operation is highest on the agenda when the two powerful leaders meet.
Modi said, "Chinese President is coming. It is a good thing that visiting dignitaries also visit the states and not only see India from Delhi."
The Sabarmati River Front has been all decked up and Ahmedabad geared up as India will roll out the red carpet for the Chinese President. In a departure from protocol, the two heads of states will sign key agreements outside New Delhi. Memorandum of Understandings will be inked for setting up of Chinese industrial parks in Ahmedabad and Pune.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, "This is a first in terms of a Prime Minister and the President of China witnessing signing of agreements outside Delhi. In addition, the Prime Minister has invited President Xi to visit the Sabarmati Ashram and it is expected that the two will spend some time during their visit there. This will be followed by a private dinner that the Prime Minister will host for President Xi."
The two leaders who last met along the sidelines of the BRICS summit in July in Fortaleza, will hold formal talks on Thursday in New Delhi. Accompanied by a 50-member power delegation, economics will drive the agenda when Jinping meets Modi in Hyderabad House.
China is expected to announce US $100 billion of investments in key areas of railways, bullet trains, infrastructure, power generation. In return, China is likely to seek India's support in its grand plan of reviving the ancient Silk Route.
But the success of the visit will depend on key contentious issues like $35 billion trade deficit in China's favour which India wants China to reduce, new special representatives for boundary talks could be announced, Tibet and the Dalai Lama, stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told his Chinese counterpart, "If we believe in one China policy, you should also believe in one India policy."
Jinping who will be accorded a presidential welcome on Thursday morning, will also hold talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Congress President Sonia Gandhi among others.
In an article in The Hindu, Jinping wrote, "As two important forces in a world that moves towards multipolarity, we need to become global partners having strategic coordination. According to Prime Minister Modi, China and India are "two bodies, one spirit." I appreciate this comment. Despite their distinctive features, the "Chinese Dragon" and the "Indian Elephant" both cherish peace, equity and justice."