China Premier’s ‘cool’ floors Delhi, wins round one of India visit

India and China sign eight bilateral agreements.

By Rajiv Theodore

NEW DELHI: Premier ‘Cool.’ That’s what the Indian media has billed visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“The purpose of my current visit to India is three-fold — to increase mutual trust, to intensify cooperation and to face the future,” said Li oozing confidence and warmth, as he spoke in New Delhi, his first overseas visit to any country since he took over the reins of China.

Li cherishes fond memories from a similar visit made 27 years ago to India, which was also his first overseas visit.

“What I saw and felt during that trip, visiting the Taj Mahal and prestigious Indian universities, research institutes, and the warmth and hospitality of the Indian people, left a lasting impact on me,” he said, speaking to the media.

And the Indian media applauded. An upbeat press here has already conceded round one to the flamboyant Li after he floored them at a media tete a tete here.

Visiting statesmen usually talk to the media in two or three sentences, but here was Li relaxed, focused and smiling under the scorching Delhi sun, ready to share his views. One could say he almost addressed the Indian people. His body language was just perfect, as he kept turning towards prime minister Manmohan Singh even while addressing the Indian media, says the Daily News Analysis (DNA), today.

Li’s three-day visit to India, which began Sunday, comes in the wake of Chinese intrusion, about 17 kms. into Indian territory of the inhospitable Ladakh region of Depsang in late April.


His warmth may not be appreciated though by scores of office goers who were caught in traffic snarls for hours in the capital, with the heat and dust compounding the suffering.

To make matters worse, for the cops too, Tibetan refugees in the capital have threatened to disrupt the security and protest Li’s visit to India. Dorjee Tseten, National Director, Students for a Free Tibet-India, said, “China’s illegal occupation of Tibet is not a mistake but a thoughtful design to control whole Asia. We strongly stand together with our Indian brothers and sisters in condemning China’s aggression. Despite 54 years of repression in Tibet by China, Tibetans have not given up their hope for freedom. We continue to resist. It’s time now for the Government of India to devise a counter-strategy by reinforcing the issue of Tibet in the near upcoming talks with Chinese leaders”

Singh on Monday was quick to point out that the rise of India and China was good for the world too. India and China were committed to ‘peace and tranquility’ along the border too, he said in the widely read The Times of India.

The respected NDTV (New Delhi Television) reported Li’s main aim during his visit was to increase areas of mutual interest and intensify cooperation. At the end of formal talks between Singh and Li, India and China signed eight bilateral agreements including key pacts in trans-border river management and trade.

Deccan Herald was being cryptic when it said in an editorial, “For all the promise of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — a wonderful future for both India and China, that together have 40 per cent of the world’s population, if they intensify cooperation and extend the arc of their relationship — we can only say great relations are built only when there is entente at the people’s level. That can’t be said to be the case now.’’

The Business Standard talked about Li’s comments on creating new engine for the world economy. “The two countries have the will, wisdom and capability to jointly nurture new bright spots in cooperation among Asian countries, create new engine of the world economy, provide huge growth potential and market demand for Asia and the world, and push forward China-India strategic cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity,” the business daily quoted Li.

Another business daily, the conservative Hindu Business Line, spoke about the B to B ties. A joint statement issued at the conclusion of talks said the two countries agreed to address the issue of trade imbalance, including cooperation on pharmaceutical supervision, stronger links between Chinese enterprises and the Indian IT industry and completion of phytosanitary (involving health of plant and agricultural produce) negotiations.

They will also strengthen cooperation between their financial regulators and support banking institutions in setting up representative offices, branches or subsidiaries. The two sides will also work towards simplifying visa procedures.

Further, to promote trade, connectivity and movement of personnel across the border, the two sides agreed to consider strengthening border trade via the Nathu La Pass.

Singh said he had shared with Li the view that the rise of China and India is good for the world and that there was in the global economy “enough space to accommodate the growth aspirations of both our people.”

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