President Pranab Mukherjee arrived here today on a four-day visit to China that will see significant political and economic push to bilateral ties while irritants like Beijing’s opposition to India’s membership of NSG and the blocking of UN bid to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist will also figure.
Mukherjee, who is making his first visit to China as President, has made a number of trips to this country in various capacities including as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and Defence Minister.
In Guangzhou, the highly industrialised city in China, Mukherjee will address the India-China Business Forum in which some top Indian industrialists will also be present.
Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province in southern coastal China that contributes 12 per cent of the country’s GDP and is home to a wide-ranging set of multinational and Chinese corporations.
In discussions with the Chinese leadership, the issues of Chinese reservations on India’s membership in the Nuclear Supplier Group and the UN ban on Azhar are expected to figure prominently.
Bilateral ties have been on an upswing since Xi’s landmark India visit in September, 2014 during which both countries had signed 12 agreements and China pledged an investment of USD 20 billion in India’s infrastructure sector.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited China in May last year during which both sides had resolved to further deepen ties in a range of areas.
However, irritants in ties cropped recently after China blocked India’s move to get a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar and opposed granting India membership of NSG, saying it must sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to get an entry into the 48-member group.
India had countered the Chinese contention of signing NPT before becoming a member of NSG as “confusion” as NPT allows civil nuclear cooperation with non-NPT countries.
Ahead of his state visit to China, Mukherjee had told the Chinese state-run television that India seeks a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question which will help in achieving full potential of Sino-India relationship.
“We seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question and, pending the boundary settlement, to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas. Both sides should strive to ensure that outstanding issues are addressed in a manner that demonstrates mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations,” he had said last week.
He had also said China joining hands with India in the fight against terrorism will have “its own impact”, indicating that the two countries must comer together to deal with the challenge.
The comments came against the backdrop of Beijing blocking India’s bid to put Azhar on the UN list of proscribed terrorists.
Mukherjee is accompanied By Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar four Members of Parliament and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.