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Indian president makes rare state visit to China

 India's President Pratibha Patil, left, speaks with China's Premier Wen Jiabao, right, during a meeting at Zhongnanhai in Beijing, China, on Thursday...
 China's Premier Wen Jiabao, right, shows the way to India's President Pratibha Patil during a meeting at Zhongnanhai in Beijing, China, on Thursday, ...
 China's Premier Wen Jiabao, right, shakes hands with India's President Pratibha Patil during a meeting at Zhongnanhai in Beijing, China, on Thursday,...

China India

India's President Pratibha Patil, left, speaks with China's Premier Wen Jiabao, right, during a meeting at Zhongnanhai in Beijing, China, on Thursday...

China India

China's Premier Wen Jiabao, right, shows the way to India's President Pratibha Patil during a meeting at Zhongnanhai in Beijing, China, on Thursday, ...

China India

China's Premier Wen Jiabao, right, shakes hands with India's President Pratibha Patil during a meeting at Zhongnanhai in Beijing, China, on Thursday,...

Indian President Pratibha Patil sought to soothe trade disputes and recent border tensions in meetings Thursday with Chinese leaders in Beijing.
Patil is the first Indian head of state in a decade to visit her country's giant neighbor, an illustration of how ties remain cool almost 50 years after the two countries fought a brief border war.
Patil met with Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. The two presidents then attended a signing ceremony for a number of bilateral agreements. The specific content of the talks and agreements was not immediately known.
Patil's six-day visit will also take her to the India pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai and to the central city of Luoyang, where she will attend a temple ceremony commemorating the arrival of Buddhism from India 2,000 years ago.
Such activities mark a push to strengthen ties between the two countries beset by mutual suspicion and a sharpening rivalry over resources and global markets to fuel their surging economies.
Indians frequently complain about a flood of Chinese products that account for about two-thirds of bilateral trade, which grew by about 33 percent in 2008 to nearly $52 billion, but declined by as much as $10 billion last year amid disputes and the global economic slowdown.
Citing safety concerns, India last year issued a six-month ban on Chinese toys that dominate the local market, and launched investigations into other Chinese products ranging from steel to pharmaceuticals.
In April, New Delhi also banned telecom equipment from Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE, citing national security concerns. The ban came less than a week after media reports that Chinese hackers had broken into the computer networks of India's security, defense and diplomatic establishments.
The most glaring disagreement remains the remote, mountainous China-India border, over which the two fought gun battles in 1962. The two lack even a commonly designated line of control, despite 13 rounds of settlement talks, and India recently beefed up its military presence along the frontier following accusations of increasing incursions by Chinese troops.
China, meanwhile, resents the presence in India of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile headed by the Himalayan region's Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled across the border during an abortive rising against Chinese rule in 1959.
Beijing last year angrily protested a weeklong visit by the Dalai Lama to the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims is Chinese territory. China, meanwhile, occupies a part of Kashmir claimed by India.
Despite such disputes, the two countries found common cause at last year's climate change talks in Copenhagen, uniting to resist attempts by industrialized nations to reach a new legally binding treaty after two years of U.N.-sponsored negotiations.
They have also sought to cooperate in global finance and coordinate foreign policy independently of the West _ with limited success thus far _ as the two largest of the so-called BRIC nations, which also include Russia and Brazil.


Updated : 2020-12-05 23:48 GMT+08:00