Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Beijing
BEIJING, Jan 14 – Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh began a three-day State visit yesterday arriving in Beijing for talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The visit, the first State visit by a sitting Indian Prime Minister for five years, comes during rapidly growing bilateral ties between the two countries, and follows Sonia Gandhi’s preliminary visit to Beijing last October, as well as a visit by Hu Jintao to India in 2006, itself the first by a Chinese president in a decade.
Dr. Singh’s itinerary will see him officiate at the opening of a joint Sino-Indo medical project, meet with Hu JIntao and the senior legislator Wu Banguo, a visit to the Olympic Village, and a speech to be delivered to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Accompanying Dr. Singh on the trip are the Indian Minister for Commerce, Kamal Nath, and the presidents and chairmen of several major Indian multinationals, including Anil Ambani of Reliance, who will be meeting with their Chinese counterparts.
China-India trade has been undergoing a resurgence in the past two years, following decades of mistrust and suspicion between the two countries, with a major armed conflict in 1962. However, bilateral ties have been improving greatly since then, with bilateral trade running at growth levels approaching 32 percent per annum since 1996. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$20 billion in 2006, however with a sharp increase to an estimated US$37 billion in 2007. These figures however are still considered small by many experts, meaning the potential for development and business opportunity between the two nations remains huge.
As Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Dezan Shira & Associates Senior Partner comments: “We established our first offices in India for the provision of legal and tax services to multinationals involved in foreign direct investment there 12 months ago. Now we are about to open a fourth office in Calcutta, and have just taken our first delegation of Chinese businessmen to Mumbai this January as we see many Chinese businesses are expanding their global reach and India represents a huge potential market of interest to them. We also now service many Indian clients in China, such as Tata, Mittal, & Reliance amongst others. Our India Briefing publication has taken off in a big way and is now being made available in Chinese. We have set our stall out as a firm as players in both of these markets in our strong belief of the continuing growth of Chinese-Indian bilateral ties and this trip by Dr. Singh will further help to cement what is fast becoming a massively powerful trading bloc in its own right.”
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