Chinese premier Wen Jiabao arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday on a three-day visit seeking to boost mutual trust and understanding, and cement trade and economic ties between China and India.
The premier, who is accompanied by a delegation of over 400 businessmen, senior ministers and officials, told business leaders at the India-China Business Co-operation Summit that Chinese companies will sign more than $16 billion worth of deals by giving greater access to India’s information technology, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.
“My current visit is aimed at promoting friendship, expanding cooperation, building on our past achievements and opening up new dimensions for mutual benefit and common development of the two countries,” Wen said immediately on his arrival.
“China-India relations face major opportunities and enjoy broad prospects,” the Chinese premier said in a statement, adding that the friendship and cooperation between the two sides have seen comprehensive and rapid progress.
China is India's largest trade partner and bilateral flows are expected to hit $60 billion in this fiscal year ending March 2011. However, the trade is skewed heavily in China's favour.
“China and India are connected by mountains and rivers and enjoy a traditional friendship dating back more than 2,000 years,” said Wen, adding that this year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two neighbors.
The Chinese premier is expected to address some of India’s key concerns such as those on stapled visas for Jammu and Kashmir, India’s bid for permanent membership in United Nations Security Council and the growing trade imbalance during his talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.
Wen will visit Tagore International School to interact with children who are learning Chinese language, followed by presenting the China-India Friendship Award and later attend a private dinner hosted by the Indian prime minister..
Earlier, Wen’s arrival was also marked by a protest by a group of Tibetans, who staged a demonstration shouting anti-China slogans and waving Tibetan flags. They also carried placards which read 'Free Tibet Wen, Free Tibet Now'.
The Chinese premier is on his first leg of his two-nation trip. Wen will pay an official visit to Pakistan on Friday.