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Li starts official visit to India in maiden foreign tour

2013-05-19 22:03 Xinhua     Web Editor: Wang Haining comment

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived here Sunday afternoon for the first leg of his maiden foreign trip since he took office in March.

During his visit, Li will meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari, Chairman of Rajya Sabha (the Upper House) of India's Parliament and Vice President.

He is also expected to deliver a speech on China-India ties and visit India's commercial capital, Mumbai.

The two sides will sign a series of agreements on cooperation in trade, agriculture, environmental protection and culture.

In a written statement issued upon his arrival, Li said it serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people and is a blessing to Asia and the world at large that China and India coexist peacefully, maintain friendly relations and work together to realize national rejuvenation.

China, he said, regarded India as an important partner and friend, adding, "I am looking forward to exchanging views with Indian leaders on bilateral ties and regional and global issues of common concern."

Li also expressed confidence that his visit would strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, expand common interests and consolidate bilateral friendship, which would inject new vigor into the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership designed for peace and prosperity.

The choice of India as the first stop of Li's maiden foreign tour indicates the great importance Beijing attaches to its relations with India.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said China hoped the visit could further cement the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, strengthen cooperation in such fields as investment, trade and infrastructure, explore complementary advantages, and achieve mutually beneficial results.

China also wants to strengthen communication and coordination with India on international and regional issues so as to make greater contribution to peace and stability in the region and the world as a whole, it said.

Li told an India youth delegation on Wednesday that "China and India are important neighbors and partners by nature. Bilateral ties are developing continuously and steadily with fruitful results being made in the cooperation of every field."

The China-India relationship was not only of great strategic significance to Asia and the world, but also concerned the destiny and interests of the two countries' combined population of 2.5 billion, Li told the delegation.

Shortly after Li became premier, Singh congratulated him over the phone. During the conversation, Li said China would, as always, attach great importance to its relations with India and would work with India to further promote their strategic cooperative partnership.

Bilateral trade between China and India, the two emerging economies, has grown strongly in recent years, with total volume reaching 66.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.

China has become India's second largest trade partner and India is China's largest trade partner in South Asia.

The two sides aim to expand bilateral trade to 100 billion dollars by 2015, a goal set by the two countries' leaders.

China and India are enjoying sound project cooperation, with India becoming an important market for China in this field. Two-way investment is also steadily increasing.

After India, Li will visit Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany.


 Premier Li Keqiang's First Overseas Trip

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