Li arrives; to hold talks with PM on boundary, water issues

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Chinese Premier Li arrives in India
New Delhi, May 19: Nearly 27 years after he made his last trip to India, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived here today on his first overseas official visit and will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on all contentious issues, including the boundary dispute later this evening.

Li, accompanied by a senior-level delegation comprising government officials and businessmen, arrived around 3 PM and was received by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed and senior ministry officials including Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.

Shortly after his arrival on a three-day visit to India, which is his first overseas stop after assuming office in March, Li will be holding restricted talks with Singh, who will also host a dinner for the visiting dignitary at his official residence which will be attended by among others members of major political parties, including BJP and SP.

Ahead of his visit, Li had said the fond memories from the visit, which he made 27 years back, also made him choose India for his first overseas visit. Recalling his visit to India over two-and-a-half decades ago, he said, "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."

"In a few days' time I will make India the first stop of my first overseas visit as a premier of China. I have made this decision not just because India is an important neighbour and one of the populous countries of the world but also because of the seeds of friendship sown during my own youth," he had said.

Asserting that India thinks "very highly" of Li's gesture of making the country his first overseas stop after assuming charge, Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said such high-level exchanges are aimed at enhancing trust and understanding as well "exhibit sensitivity" to each other's concerns.

PTI

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