Prez to visit China next month

The visit at the highest level will come as early as next month — President Pratibha Patil will arrive in Beijing on May 28 for an official sojourn. The date for the visit was finalised during External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s exchanges with Chinese leaders in Beijing early this week.

Patil’s visit will be continuation of high-level contacts or visits heralded by Krishna’s visit.
Patil, top government sources told Deccan Herald here on Friday, will hold a meeting with her Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on whose invitation she will be paying the official visit. It will be the visit in return as Hu had come to India in 2006 — it also happened to be the first visit to India by a Chinese head of state in 10 years. A range of subjects is likely to be on the agenda as Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and foreign minister Yang Jiechi, besides other senior leaders will call on Patil. The details of the visits are being worked out by officials of the foreign offices of the two countries.

President Patil’s visit too comes after a gap of a decade by the Indian head of state — the last was by the then president K R Narayanan in 2000, which marked resumption of high level exchanges after China had reacted sharply to India’s nuclear tests of 1998.

To keep the high-level exchanges going, India is trying to get either Hu or Wen to visit New Delhi this year itself or to be the Republic Day guest in 2011.  

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