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Pranab Mukherjee to Meet Chinese Prez Jinping During 4-Day Trip

It will be the first trip to the country by an Indian Head of State in six years.

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President Pranab Mukherjee. (Photo: Reuters)

President Pranab Mukherjee will make a four-day trip to China between 24 and 27 May to hold talks with the top Chinese leadership, the Foreign Ministry said in an announcement. 

It will be the first trip to the country by an Indian Head of State in six years. The last Presidential visit to China was by Pratibha Patil in 2010.

Mukherjee is likely to raise the issues of China blocking India’s bid to get a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and its stand that New Delhi must sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to get membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The lingering boundary issue may also figure in talks.

The President will be meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Premier Le Keqiang and other top leaders on the trip. Ties between the two countries have been on an upswing since Xi’s landmark India visit in September 2014, during which both countries had signed 12 agreements and China pledged an investment of USD 20 billion in India’s infrastructure sector.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited China in May last year, where both sides had resolved to further deepen ties in a range of areas. However, irritants have cropped up recently in the form of China blocking India’s move to get a UN ban on JeM chief Azhar, and its opposition to granting India membership of the NSG.

Ahead of his visit, Mukherjee said China joining hands with India in the fight against terrorism will have “its own impact”, indicating that the two countries must come together to deal with the challenge. 

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 Chinese President Xi Jinping at the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, the United States, April  2016. (Photo: IANS)
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, the United States, April 2016. (Photo: IANS)
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Hua Chunyig, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, expressed a desire to solve the two countries’ long-running border dispute. 

China is ready to work with India to accelerate negotiations and resolve this historic issue at an early date to move forward bilateral relations.
Hua Chunying, Foreign Ministry spokesperson

Mukherjee will reach Beijing on 25 May and is scheduled to hold talks with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders. Outlining the steps taken by India and China to resolve the dispute, Hua said so far the two countries have established a series of working mechanisms, including talks at the level of Special Representatives, to resolve the issue besides reaching political guidelines and three step road map.

(With agency inputs)

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