Gujarat model for India-China ties?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a bilateral meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil. File photo  

Preparations for President Xi Jinping’s visit to India next month have factored a visit by the Chinese leader to Gujarat. While the plans for the visit are yet to be firmed up, Gujarat is understood to be the preferred destination for Mr. Xi, who will also hold meetings in New Delhi with Mr. Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee.

Chinese investment

Chinese officials have viewed the State as a model for their economic ties with India. Gujarat has been among the biggest destinations for Chinese investment in India, with Beijing looking to take forward plans to set up industrial parks in India, in part based on its experience in Gujarat.

China also seeks to elevate a trade relationship — so far driven largely by transactional exchanges over raw materials from India and machinery from China — to a deeper and more advanced level.

It is hoped that the visit will also deepen what officials have described as a personal rapport established between the two when they met at the BRICS Summit in Brazil last month. Mr. Xi spent had praised Gujarat’s model of development, drawing parallels with China’s own experiment of economic opening up launched in southern provinces in the early 1990s.

Another destination said to be under consideration — but less likely — is Kochi. China is keen to project its historical links with Kochi through the ancient Maritime Silk Road at a time when Beijing is eager to involve India with its new “one belt, one road” project.

The Chinese President will visit India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka next month. The Chinese side was keen for Mr. Xi to begin his visit in India. However, with President Pranab Mukherjee in Vietnam at the same time, the schedule of the visit will likely have to be readjusted with Mr. Xi travelling to India after his visits to Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:18:39 AM |

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