Mr. Xi intends to visit India later this year on what would be his first visit to the country after taking over as President in March 2013.
China's President Xi Jinping said on Thursday he saw improving relations with India as his “historic mission”, as the top Chinese leader met with the Indian envoy in Beijing.
The Indian Ambassador to China Ashok Kantha, who began his term here in January, formally presented his credentials to Mr. Xi at Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Thursday afternoon.
The top-ranked Chinese leader subsequently met Mr. Kantha for a 15-minute interaction, sources informed about the meeting said. Mr. Xi in a formal ceremony received credentials from 14 recently appointed envoys. The Chinese leader later held individual meetings with only three of the envoys, including Mr. Kantha and the newly appointed United States Ambassador Max Baucus.
Mr. Xi told Mr. Kantha he was an “advocate of furthering the India-China strategic partnership”. “Doing so is my historic mission,” he said.
He especially highlighted what he described as the increasing importance of India-China relations beyond the bilateral context, and called for greater cooperation on regional and global issues.
As The Hindu first reported earlier this month, Mr. Xi intends to visit India later this year on what would be his first visit to the country after taking over as President in March 2013.
The keenness for the proposed visit, conveyed by the Chinese side during the recent 17th round of boundary talks, is being framed as underlining Beijing's intent to work with the new government in New Delhi that will be in place after the Lok Sabha elections.
Mr. Xi on Thursday said he looked forward to deepening engagement with India in the coming year, which both sides have agreed to mark as a “year of friendly exchanges”. He also mentioned the upcoming sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the five principles of peaceful coexistence, which both sides plan to mark with a number of events.
India also plans to hold a “Glimpses of India” celebration in 12 Chinese cities in the months ahead to mark the year of exchanges and to widen people-to-people engagement. To that end, India has also begun the process of liberalising the visa regime, starting with ensuring that all business and tourist visas are issued by the embassy in Beijing in two working days and by consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou within three working days, down from the earlier processing time of five working days.