Setting a positive tone, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday hailed India as a “great neighbour” and expressed confidence that the two countries would reach “important strategic consensus” during the visit and take bilateral ties to an “even higher level”.
“I hope that my visit will help increase our cooperation in wide-range of fields and raise our friendship and cooperation to an even higher level,” Mr. Jiabao told reporters after being accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan here.
With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by his side, Mr. Wen said that China and India now faced good opportunities to expand cooperation and pursue common development goals.
“I have the confidence that with the joint efforts of the Prime Minister and me, we will be able to reach important strategic consensus during the visit and the visit will yield important outcomes,” he said speaking through an interpreter.
On his second visit here in five years, the 68-year-old Mr. Wen said he would have “in-depth exchange of views and strategic communications” with Dr. Singh and other Indian leaders with the purpose of deepening friendship, expanding practical cooperation and increasing people-to-people exchanges.
“I believe with our joint efforts through the visit, we will be able to raise our cooperation and friendship to a higher level in the new century,” he said.
Terming India as a “great neighbour”, Mr. Wen said the two countries have time-honoured tradition of friendship.
“Entering the new century, the two countries have established strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity,” he said.
Noting that this year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India, he said the two countries “now face good opportunities to expand cooperation and pursue common development” (goals).
“Finally, I would like to extend through you journalists, cordial greetings and best wishes from the Chinese people to the people of India,” Mr. Wen said.