President Patil to be first Indian head of state to visit China in a decade

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New Delhi, May 25 (ANI): President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, who will be visiting China from May 26-31 to deepen and expand strategic and cooperative partnership, will be the first Indian head of state to visit that country in a decade.

President Patil's visit coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China.

Minister of Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and a business delegation will accompany her.

"This visit is the first by an Indian Head of State to China in a decade, the last one being in 2000 by the then President K.R. Narayanan. From the Chinese side, President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to India in November 2006," said Rao.

Commenting on growing Sino-India relations, she said: "India China relations are characterized by regular high-level exchanges, which are proposed to be maintained and even enhanced.

"In the preceding months, our Prime Minister met with President Hu Jintao at Yeketerinburg in June last year and again at Brasilia in April this year. He had very good exchange of views with Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in October 2009, and during the 16th Summit of the Conference of Parties on Climate Change at Copenhagen in December 2009."

The Foreign Secretary said that developing friendly cooperation with China has been one of the priorities of India's foreign policy and, New Delhi is pleased that relations are becoming truly multifaceted.

President Patil, on the first leg of her visit in Beijing, will have extensive talks with President Hu Jintao who will also be hosting a State Banquet in her honour on May 27.

She will meet with other senior most leaders of China, including the Chairman of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin.

President Patil will also visit the historic city of Luoyang in China's central Henan Province on May 29 to inaugurate an Indian-style Buddhist shrine in the famous White Horse Monastery. She will dedicate it as a gift from the people of India to the people of China.

Luoyang has special association with India, as the first two Indian Buddhist monks to China lived and worked in the monastery there under imperial patronage in the first century A.D.

In the last leg of the tour, President Patil will visit Shanghai. She will also address a business meeting to be attended by captains of industry of both countries.

The President will also interact with the Indian community in China. This interaction will be in Shanghai. She will also unveil a statue of Rabindranath Tagore on Shanghai's main avenue. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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