India, China to launch tourism year

Updated: 2007-02-11 09:52

New Delhi - India and China are set to deepen their economic, strategic and cultural ties by starting a hotline between their foreign ministers and launching the 'friendship through tourism' year next week.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, who starts his four-day official visit to India Sunday, will kick off, along with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Tourism Minister Ambika Soni, the 'India-China Friendship Through Tourism Year' Wednesday that is expected to accelerate the two-way flow of tourists between them.

The logo of the 'India-China Friendship Through Tourism Year' will also be unveiled.

Li comes to New Delhi Tuesday after a visit to Patna and Nalanda, the prominent centre of learning in the ancient times, and will hold talks with Mukherjee on a wide range of bilateral and global issues. He will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

The hotline will be operationalised after the talks between Li and Mukherjee to implement the 10-point plan, agreed during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit here late last year, for enhancing strategic and economic cooperation between the two countries, Chinese embassy sources told IANS.

Li will hold talks with Mukherjee and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov Friday in a trilateral meeting that will discuss a host of international issues, including the Iranian crisis.

China plans to cooperate with India in building an international university in Nalanda which, in the 5th century A.D., was a famous centre of Buddhist learning.

The two countries are confident about doubling the bilateral trade to $40 billion by 2010.

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