Stapled visa to figure during Prez visit to China25 May 2010
The Daily Excelsior
NEW DELHI-BEIJING: As President Pratibha Patil embarks on a six-day State visit to China tomorrow, the two countries pledged to utilise it to deepen and expand their strategic cooperation. Ahead of the first visit by an Indian Head of State to China in a decade, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters in New Delhi, 'It also signals our unequivocal commitment to deepen and expand our Strategic and Cooperative Partnership with China.' In Beijing, the President will have extensive talks with her counterpart Hu Jintao, Rao said, adding she will also meet with other seniormost Chinese leaders including Chairman of the National Peopleís Congress Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and Chairman of the Chinese Peopleís Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin. 'We are confident that Rashtrapatijiís visit will be instrumental in re-affirming and enhancing the long-standing ties of friendship between our two nations and our two peoples,' the Foreign Secretary said. When asked whether India will take up contentious issues such as issuance of stapled visas by China, involvement of Chinese companies in various projects in Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir and Chinaís help to Pakistan in building two nuclear reactors, Rao said 'all bilateral issues and the situation in the region will be discussed.' But she also maintained that these issues were always under discussion with the Chinese side to 'safeguard our legitimate concerns' and said the relationship between the two countries should not be predicated on one or two issues alone. 'I would like to note that developing friendly cooperation with China has been one of the priorities of our foreign policy and we are pleased that our relations are becoming truly multifaceted,' she added. On whether India would also seek support from China for its bid for a UN Security Council seat during the forthcoming visit, the Foreign Secretary said, 'They have taken note of our legitimate aspirations for a greater role in the UN and more specifically, in the UNSC.' In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said, 'We welcome President Patilís visit to China'. 'With this opportunity we will deepen bilateral understanding and cooperation to upgrade China and India relations to a higher level,' Jiang said. Jiang said the visit is taking place when Sino-Indian relations are developing in a 'comprehensive and fast manner as evidenced by frequent visits of high-level delegations to each otherís countries deepening the political mutual trust, progress and cooperation in various fields in major international and regional issues'. The visit of President, who is accompanied by Minister of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay, three MPs and a high-level official delegation, is also expected to give boost to business ties between the two countries. Bilateral trade between the two countries grew 34 per cent in 2008 to touch USD 51.8 billion, though in 2009 it slipped to USD 43.27 billion due to global recession. During her visit, Patil would also travel to Loyang, where the famous White Horse Buddhist temple was built in 68 AD when Buddhism was introduced in China by Chinese Monk Xuanzan after a 17-year-long voyage. As a gesture of goodwill and friendship, India has built a Buddhist temple close to it, which Patil will inaugurate. She will also travel to Shanghai and visit India and China Pavilions at the Shanghai Expo. (PTI) .