Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to arrive here on Sunday on his first ever visit to the country since taking over the top job from his predecessor Wen Jiabao in March.
And the three-day visit assumes considerable signifance since it is also Li’s maiden overseas trip following his appointment as Prime Minister during Beijing’s once-in-a-decade leadership change.
“We think very highly of this gesture because it is our view that high-level political exchanges between our two countries are an important aspect and vehicle for our expanded cooperation,” said Union Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
Meanwhile, despite the apparent thaw in the bilateral ties, the Sino-Indian border row continues remain a major sticking point in the relations between the two Asian giants.
Incidentally, the Chinese dignitary’s visit comes barely a fortnight after Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army(PLA)troops ended its incursions into Ladakh across the LAC. And the issue is expected to figure prominently in Li’s talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
As per the itinerary for Li’s visit,he will first have a ‘restricted’ meeting with Manmohan at the latter’s 7 Race Course Road residence in the evening, with the talks continuing over dinner. They will again meet on Monday for the formal delegation-level talks, which will be followed by the signing of the bilateral pacts.
“Everything is on the table when two Prime Ministers of any two countries meet, and definitely that is true even of the Prime Ministers of India and China,” said the MEA’s Joint Secretary (East Asia), Gautam Bambawale, when asked about the possibility of the border row coming up during the one-on-one.
“Having said that, I think the two Prime Ministers would talk about this subject (border) since it has been a recent occurrence,” he added. Hardly two months ago, China had handed over a new Border Defence Cooperation Pact for increasing the communication channels among the border troops of both the sides, which is currently under discussion.