Bilateral ties with China poised for vibrant change: PM

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Beijing, Jan 13: Commencing his three-day visit to China on an optimistic note, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said Indo-Sino relations are poised to enter a vibrant and dynamic phase.

He said it was recognised that the growth and development of both the countries would make positive and long-term contributions to regional and global peace, security and stability. Dr Singh was accorded a red carpet welcome at the airport by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo. He later visited the Beijing 2008 Olympic project exhibition centre.

Mr Dai will lead the Chinese side to hold the crucial talks on border dispute with National Security Adviser M K Narayanan. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will host a private dinner for Dr Singh at the Diaoyutai guest house tonight where informal discussions on various issues may come up.

Mr Wen will host a banquet tomorrow at the West Hall of the Great Hall of the People in the honour the Prime Minister.

Dr Singh will also meet Indian businessmen today and is expected to hold wide-ranging discussions with them on measures to increase bilateral trade, and evolving a strategy to correct the increasing trade deficit.

The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation Summit here tomorrow. The event is being organised by the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). About 400 captains of the Industry are expected to participate in the meet, with about 300 from China alone.

Comprehensive economic and commercial engamement with China is a core component of the Sino-Indo partnership. Bilateral trade touched 34.2 billion dollars in Jan-Nov 2007-- a fifty four per cent growth year-on-year with a trade deficit of 9.02 billion dollars for India.

The huge deficit has been a big worry for Indian industry and ways are being explored to tackle the situation.

The two countries had established a joint task force to study the feasibilitry and benefits of an India-China Regional Trading Arrangement (RTA ). The report by the Task Force was finalised in October last year and it would be discussed during the high profile visit.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has already arrived here for discussions on various issues pertaining to bilateral trade.

UNI

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