Vice Prez Hamid Ansari to embark on China visit to strengthen Sino-India ties

Posted By: PTI
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Beijing, Jun 25: On a visit to celebrate 60th year of Panchsheel, once formed bedrock of Sino-India ties, Vice President Hamid Ansari will begin his five-day journey to China on Thursday from the historic city of Xian.

Ansari will arrive at Xian, where celebrated Chinese Buddhist monk Huen Tsang translated Buddhist scriptures brought from India in seventh century. His visit will be the first by Indian Vice President to China since 1994, when K R Narayanan travelled to Beijing, Indian Ambassador Ashok Kantha told Indian journalists.

Ansari is the first top Indian official to visit China after Narendra Modi government assumed power last month amid high expectations of resurgence in bilateral ties specially due to Modi's familiarity with Chinese leadership during his four visits here as Chief Minister of Gujarat.

The vice president's visit was finalised after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited New Delhi this month as special envoy of President Xi Jinping to establish contacts with the new Indian leadership.

The ties were expected to be firmed up further with Modi-Xi meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in Brazil next months followed by expected visits of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj besides Chief of Army Gen Bikram Singh, Kantha said.

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman is part of Ansari's visit to discuss with her Chinese counterpart the roadmap to increase the bilateral trade stagnating around USD 65.47 billion as well as India's concerns of over USD 35 billion trade deficit. Commenting on his visit, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying today said that China attaches great significance to Ansari's visit as it is first by an Indian leader after the new government took over in New Delhi.

"It is of great significance to promote China-India strategic partnership and helps to deepen the relations further," she said.

His visit symbolically connects the ancient and modern roots of the Sino-Indian ties which had a chequered history. In Xian, Ansari will visit the Wild Goose Pagoda, built to highlight Huen Tsang's efforts to tour India in 645 AD through the ancient Silk Road.

He returned home after a 17 year long sojourn to India with precious Buddhist scriptures. Huen Tsang translated the works into Chinese which helped popularising the Buddhism in China which till date remained the most cherished link between both the countries.


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