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Li's India visit attracts global attention

China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-22 07:51

Editor's note: Premier Li Keqiang's first visit to India is significant for the two countries, and has attracted wide media attention. Below are reports from some media outlets:

Moving forward

Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India will help the two countries to lay aside differences and strengthen bilateral relations, says an editorial in The Hindu. Excerpts:

Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India was an opportunity for both sides to calm troubled waters and this is evidently what they have tried to do. The decision to "encourage" the two countries' Special Representatives on the boundary question "to push forward the process of negotiations" towards a mutually acceptable settlement will hopefully breathe political life into a process that is at a virtual standstill despite 15 rounds of talks.

Besides dealing with the border issue, both sides seemed to have made the deliberate decision to emphasise the larger strategic and global nature of the relationship. They have added civil nuclear cooperation to the mix, and agreed to enhance cooperation against piracy at sea and other non-traditional threats to maritime security. On trans-border rivers, another problematic area, the two sides have agreed "to further strengthen cooperation" and continue sharing data.

Striving to end border row

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he had agreed with his Chinese counterpart to make a new push to settle the long-running border row, pledging his commitment to "peace and tranquility", says an article in The Hindustan Times. Excerpts:

While addressing a joint press conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in New Delhi on Monday, Singh said: "We've had differences but peace must be preserved on the borders," adding that special measures were needed to build greater confidence between the two nations.

Li said that the border dispute was a historical hangover and that there was a desire on both sides to resolve it.

Earlier, Li pledged to build trust with India and declared that ties between the Asian giants were key to world peace as he visited New Delhi only weeks after a border spat.

Speaking alongside his counterpart Manmohan Singh, Li said China wanted to increase cooperation with India, saying his choice of destination for his first foreign visit showed the importance that Beijing attached to ties with New Delhi.

Emphasis on cooperation

India and China stressed the need for cooperation as the world's two most populous countries, says an article in the Wall Street Journal. Excerpts:

"India and China have a historic opportunity for economic and social development and the realization of this goal will advance peace and prosperity in Asia and the world at large," the two sides said in a statement.

Areas of potential greater cooperation include improving ties between Chinese enterprises and the Indian information-technology industry, the statement said. The two countries are aiming for trade volume of $100 billion by 2015, up from $73.9 billion in 2011.

Many economists say India will achieve trade parity with China only when it develops a more mature manufacturing base.

New strategic partnership

New Delhi thought "very highly" of Mr Li's decision to make India his first foreign stop and the aim of the talks was to "enhance trust", says an article in the BBC. Excerpts:

China's Premier Li Keqiang is traveling to India in the first stop of his maiden foreign trip since taking office. Beijing hopes the visit will help build trust and a new strategic partnership to the benefit of both countries, China's official news agency Xinhua said.

Boosting trade ties is also expected to dominate the talks. China is already one of India's top trading partners and both countries have already agreed a new $100 billion bilateral trade target for 2015.

Significance of neighbors

Li Keqiang's first foreign trip as premier aims to help settle border dispute and boost economic ties with India, said an article by Al-Jazeera based in Qatar. Excerpts:

China's new premier has arrived in India for his first foreign trip as the two Asian countries look to speed up efforts to settle a decades-old border dispute and strengthen economic ties.

China said on Sunday that Li Keqiang's choice of India for his first trip abroad since taking office in March shows the importance the country attaches to improving relations with its western neighbor.

Bhaskar Roy, a New Delhi-based political analyst, said it is very interesting that Li's first stop in his tour is India. "This shows a change in the way of thinking or readjustment of thinking in Beijing," he said. "According to Chinese officials, they are entering a new age of foreign policy or diplomacy, which seeks to encompass neighbors."

Overcome border tensions

India and China pledge to overcome border tensions, says an article from Voice of America. Excerpts:

The leaders of Asian giants India and China say they will take steps to build greater mutual trust a month after a tense dispute over their shared border.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang acknowledged the need to improve various border mechanisms and overcome differences between his country and India. But he placed more emphasis on the global impact of cooperation between the two of the world's emerging superpowers.

Peaceful coexistence

Arriving in India as his first stop of maiden foreign tour, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that China regards India as an important partner and friend, and it serves their bilateral interests and the world to coexist peacefully, said India Today. Excerpts:

In a written statement issued on his arrival in New Delhi on Sunday afternoon, Li said, "it serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people and is a blessing to Asia and the world at large that China and India coexist peacefully, maintain friendly relations and work together to realize national rejuvenation."

Li expressed confidence that his visit would strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, expand common interests and consolidate bilateral friendship, which would inject new vigor into the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership designed for peace and prosperity.

Important visit

When India and China on Monday signed eight agreements and memorandums of understanding, Indian government officials gushed over Li's visit as being "substantive and productive", said Excerpts:

India is the first of four stops on Li's maiden overseas trip, but the only agreement on key issues has been to discuss them in detail in future. Li arrived in New Delhi on Sunday, and will leave for Pakistan on Wednesday.

Syed Akbaruddin, India's foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, said Li's visit "has been two very, very useful, productive, important, substantive days".

Addressing a joint press conference after delegation-level talks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he and Li had "wide-ranging and candid discussions" and that the two "took stock of lessons learnt from the recent incident in the western sector, when existing mechanisms proved their worth".

Tributes to Indian doctor

China's premier paid his respects Tuesday to the family of an Indian doctor who died treating Chinese troops more than 70 years ago, becoming a rare symbol of friendship between the two nations, said AFP. Excerpts:

Li Keqiang, like Chinese leaders before him, took time out of his busy India visit to meet relatives of Dwarkanath Kotnis, who provided emergency medical aid for four years during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45). And he has remained a widely revered figure in China for his war work.

Manorama Kotnis, one of the doctor's seven siblings and the only one still alive, will meet the Chinese premier at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in the financial capital Mumbai, along with four of her younger relatives.

"I'm very proud and happy that he still remembers my brother," said the 92-year-old lady on Monday at her home in Mumbai's Vile Parle suburb, where old pictures of her legendary brother sit proudly on display.

Born in Maharashtra province, of which Mumbai is the capital, Kotnis was one of five medical volunteers dispatched from India in 1938, following a request for help from the fellow Asian giant. Manorama, who was a teenager when her older brother left, said the team was only supposed to go for a year. But her brother stayed on for four years, joining the Communist Party of China and marrying a Chinese nurse, with whom he had a son a few months before he died of epilepsy in 1942, aged 32.

Winning Indians' hearts

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang won the hearts of Indians with his knowledge of India, says an article in The Times of India. Excerpts:

While Chinese Premier Li Keqiang came across as loquacious and jovial in his interaction with Indian leaders - a far cry from several other Chinese leaders who have visited here in the past - he also won hearts with his knowledge of India.

Li had his Indian interlocutors in splits when he told them how he had loved watching Bollywood movie 3 Idiots. Bollywood movies have only recently started to attract eyeballs in China. The Chinese leader said that his daughter was so impressed with the movie that she made him watch it.

Li also spoke about Steve Jobs' biography and the Apple co-founder's experiences in the country in his salad days. The Chinese premier spoke about how Jobs had travelled to India in search of enlightenment. Jobs, though, had few flattering things to say about India describing his India adventure as disturbing.

While Li had travelled to India in the 1980s as the chief of a youth delegation - when he got a chance to visit the Taj Mahal - his interest in India was rekindled after he rose to become the governor of Henan province. The province is home to the oldest Buddhist temple, called the Baima or White Horse temple in China. This is where he developed some interest in Indian culture and heritage.

Handling differences

China will handle differences with India on the basis of bearing overall ties, said an article in NDTV India. Excerpts:

Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang today said "India is China's important neighbor," and that Beijing would handle differences with New Delhi keeping the overall bilateral relationship in mind.

The two leaders also held substantive discussions which Li said was "productive". Government sources told NDTV that Singh, in a "firm, upfront and constructive" manner, raised India's boundary concerns with the Chinese premier and said that without maintaining peace at the border, the relationship between the two countries will suffer.

"Everything is on the table," Joint Secretary (East Asia) Gautam Bambawale said when asked about the issues to be discussed between the leaders of the two countries, who are witnessing differences on various crucial matters including boundary, water management, and market access under economic ties.

Regional stability enhanced

China and India pledged to work together for regional stability and the economic growth of the world's two most populous nations, said an article by the Associated Press. Excerpts:

"Both the prime minister and I believe that there are far more shared interests between China and India than the differences we have," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at a joint press conference.

"I shared with Premier Li my view that the rise of China and India is good for the world and that the world has enough space to accommodate the growth aspirations of both our peoples. To make this a reality, it is important to build understanding between our two peoples," Singh said.

The leaders said they both agreed that preserving peace along the borders was crucial to maintaining growth and asked mediators from both countries to work toward a framework for reaching a settlement.

New approaches

India and China will study new ways to ease tensions on border issues, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday on his first official foreign trip, says an article by Reuters. Excerpts:

The number two in the Chinese leadership offered New Delhi a "handshake across the Himalayas" and said the world's most populous nations could become a new engine for the global economy if they could avoid friction on the militarized border.

"Both sides believe that we need to improve the various border-related mechanisms that we have put into place and make them more efficient. We need to appropriately manage and resolve our differences," Li said at a joint news conference with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Among the measures being looked at to reduce the risk of confrontation is allowing higher-level meetings between regional military commanders, an Indian official said.

After India, Li is due to visit Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany and is likely to carry a message that China wants more open foreign relations and should not be seen as a threat.

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