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26-05-2010 : On Board Special Aircraft

I am embarking on a State visit to China from May 26 to 31, 2010 at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Hu Jintao, the President of the People's Republic of China. This is the first visit by the President of India to China in a decade. I will visit Beijing, Luoyang and Shanghai.

It is particularly significant that my visit takes place in the 60th Anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China. China is India's largest neighbour in terms of area, as well as population. India attaches great importance to its relations with China. Our two countries enjoy a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership. We also have a 'Shared Vision for the 21st Century', which acknowledges that the India - China partnership transcends the purely bilateral and has global implications. This understanding and awareness is the basis for our cooperation on international matters.

As ancient civilizations, India and China have had contacts and linkages over the millenia. Our nations enjoyed links along the Silk Route. Monk-scholars like Kashyapmatanga, Dharmaratna, Bodhidharma and Kumarajeeva are well known in China for their work there. Similarly, Xuan Zang and Fa Xian are familiar to us in India as scholars from China who visited India in search of Buddhist scriptures. In contemporary times personages such as Gurudev Tagore, Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis and Professor Tan Yun Shan have become symbols of India-China friendship and co-operation. During my visit, I will have the privilege of unveiling a bust of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in Shanghai.

My visit to China is aimed at enhancing trust, friendship and understanding between our two Governments and our two peoples. It will deepen and expand the areas of our cooperation and, thereby, cement the partnership between our two countries.

I look forward to my talks with President Hu Jintao. I will also hold discussions with the Chairman of the National People's Congress, Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Jia Qinglin. I will have an opportunity to meet with Vice President Xi Jinping. Additionally, I look forward to interacting with Provincial leaders in Henan and Shanghai.

In my meetings with the leadership of China I will comprehensively review our bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. The many dimensions of the India - China partnership including trade and investment, culture and the arts, science and technology, and people-to-people exchanges, will be discussed. It will be my effort to impart additional momentum to our existing cooperative activities and exchanges.

In Luoyang, within the precincts of the famous White Horse Temple, I will inaugurate an Indian-style Buddhist temple. I will dedicate this temple, a gift from India, to the friendship between the people of India and China. This temple will encourage the people of India and China to have greater exchanges between us, as we did in times gone by.

In Shanghai I will have the opportunity to visit the Shanghai World Expo 2010, where I look forward to seeing the India pavilion and the China national pavilion. India has participated actively at the Expo. I also look forward to meeting the Indian community in Shanghai.

I will address an India - China business forum to provide fillip to this most dynamic sector of our bilateral exchange. India and China are working together to achieve the bilateral trade target of US $ 60 billion in 2010. I will encourage Indian businesses to expand their presence in China. I will also convey that India is open for business and we would welcome Chinese investments into India.

I am confident that my State visit to China will help bind our two countries closer together and enhance cooperation between our Governments and our people.

Thank You.


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