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Premier arrives in New Delhi for official visit

Updated: May 19,2013 9:59 AM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang (R, front) arrives at an airport in New Delhi, India, kicking off an official visit to the country, on May 19, 2013. [Photo by Ma Zhancheng/Xinhua]

NEW DELHI -- Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi in the afternoon of May 19 for the first leg of his maiden foreign trip since he became premier in March.

During his stay, Li will meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Pranab Mukherjee and other leaders, and deliver a speech on China-India ties. He will also visit India’s commercial capital, Mumbai.

The two sides will sign a series of cooperative agreements during Li’s tour.

In a written statement issued on his arrival at the airport, Li extended best wishes on behalf of the Chinese government and 1.3 billion Chinese people to the Indian government and 1.2 billion Indian people. The choice of India as the first stop of Li’s maiden foreign tour indicates the great importance Beijing attaches to its relations with India.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said China hoped Li’s visit could further cement the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, strengthen cooperation in such fields as bilateral investment, trade and infrastructure, exploit complementary advantages, and achieve mutually beneficial results.

China also expected to strengthen its communication and coordination with India on international and regional issues to make a greater contribution to safeguarding peace and stability in the region and the world as a whole, said the ministry.

Li told an India youth delegation on May 15: “China and India are important neighbors and partners by nature. Bilateral ties are developing continuously and steadily with fruitful results being made in the cooperation of every field.”

The China-India relationship was not only of great strategic significance to Asia and the world, but also the destiny and interests of the two countries’ combined population of 2.5 billion, he told the delegation.

Shortly after Li became premier, Singh congratulated him over phone. During the conversation, Li said China would, as always, attach great importance to its relations with India and would work with India to further promote their strategic cooperative partnership.

Trade cooperation between China and India has grown strongly in recent years, with total trade reaching $66.5 billion in 2012.

China has become India’s second-largest trade partner and India is China’s largest trade partner in South Asia.

It is expected to reach $100 billion in 2015, a goal set by the two countries’ leaders.

China and India are enjoying sound project cooperation, with India becoming an important market for China in this field. Two-way investment also is steadily increasing.

After India, Li will visit Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany.

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