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Transcript of Media Briefing by MEA on President's forthcoming visit to China

Shri Vikas Swarup,Official Spokesperson:Good evening friends and welcome to this press briefing onPresident’s forthcoming visit to China. As you know Rashtrapatiji will betravelling to China from the 24th to 27th of this month. To brief you on thisvery important visit to a very important country, I have with me twocolleagues, Shri Venu Rajamony, who is Press Secretary to the President andShri Pradeep Rawat, who is Joint Secretary, East Asia.

Joint Secretary East-Asia will give you a broad brush picture ofthe President’s program is China. Venu will then supplement it with somepersonal insights of the President and then the floor will be open toquestions. With that I give the floor to Pradeep.

Jt. SecretaryEast-Asia, Pradeep Rawat: Thank you Vikas. As Vikas mentioned that it’s a veryimportant visit. Rashtrapati Ji will be visiting the China on a State visitfrom May 24 to May 27, 2016. This is his first visit as President of India. Youknow that he has been to China on several occasions in various capacities. Thelast Presidential visit from India to China was in May 2000. You are aware thatPresident Xi Jin Ping has visited India in September 2014. That was asignificant visit. All of you have seen the visuals of that visit. Some of itis even shown on TV from time to time.

During that visit we agreed to establish a Closer DevelopmentalPartnership. Two Chinese Industrial parks were established. China alsoannounced their intention to realize $20 billion of investment over five years. Since then, momentum of highlevel exchanges across diverse sectors has been maintained. You are aware thatPrime Minister Modi’s visit to China in May last year helped to further pushthe Closer Developmental Partnership. Business agreements signed during thatvisit exceeded USD 22 billion.

Rashtrapatiji’s visit is the most significant bilateral visit inlast one year. The visit will begin on May 24 in Guangzhou, capital city ofGuangdong, which is the only Chinese province with an economy of over USD 1trillion. Rashtrapatiji is the first State Leader of India to visit Guangzhou.It further highlights two sides commitment to make Closer DevelopmentalPartnership as a cornerstone of bilateral relationship. As you know we alsoshare historical connection with Guangdong. It is believed that Bodhi Dharma,who Chinese call Ta-mo, first arrived off the coast of Guangdong in 6th centuryA.D. He is regarded as the founder of Chan, which is basically comes fromDhyan. The Chan or Zen tradition of Buddhism later spread from China to Japanand Korea.

Rashtrapatiji’s program in Guangzhou will highlight the businessand cultural linkages, which provide a durable foundation for growth anddevelopment of bilateral ties. The second and most important leg of visit willbegin on May 26 in Beijing. Rashtrapatiji will arrive in Beijing on 25thevening.Rashtrapatiji will meet with the top leadership of China in Beijing. Seniordignitaries from China will attend various cultural and educational functionsbeing organized during the visit.

A key highlight of Rashtrapatiji’s engagement in Beijing will bethe Round Table of Vice Chancellors and Presidents of Universities of India andChina. It is the first time that such a round table is being organized as apart of a State visit to China. A number of MoUs in the academic field areproposed to be signed between the academic institutions of two countries. Giventhe young population of India and zeal for knowledge of Indian and Chinesepeople, these academic linkages will be mutually beneficial.

During his visit Rashtrapatiji will be addressing a businessgathering in Guangzhou. He will share his thoughts with the Indian communityagain in Guangzhou. He will connect with Friends of India, a committed group ofcultural and academic personalities in Beijing and will speak to young,dynamic, and talented Chinese students of Beijing University and through themto Chinese people to convey our vision of bilateral relations. In terms ofbilateral relations you are aware of the importance of this relationship.Leadership of the two countries agreed that it is the key relationship for achievingthe shared vision of an Asian Century. Whole range of bilateral issues coveringpolitical, economic and people-to-people domains will be discussed. As twomajor powers in the world, the India-China relationship transcends bilateraldimensions. Therefore discussions will also cover regional and global issues ofsignificance.

Rashtrapatiji will depart from Beijing, on 27thMay, basically inthe forenoon itself. Thank you.

Shri Vikas Swarup,Official Spokesperson:Thank you Pradeep for that very comprehensive overview ofthe President’s visit. I will now turn to Venu to supplement, whatever he hasto say.

Shri Venu Rajamony,Press Secretary to President:Thank you Vikas, Thank you Pradeep. Let mefirst of all say that the Chinese Government is really laying out thered-carpet for the President. He is meeting a wide range of leaders andvirtually every important function that he participates in, will have thepresence of a major Chinese leader.

In Guangzhou, he willbe meeting both the Governor of Guangdong province as well as the PartySecretary of Guangdong province. The Party Secretary is hosting a special lunchfor him, which is a very rare gesture. Normally when a dignitary visits thecity of Guangzhou, it is only expected that the Governor meets him, but herethe Party Secretary is both meeting him and hosting a lunch.

After he reachesBeijing, the very first function that he has is a reception jointly organizedby the Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries andthe Indian Embassy. Here the Vice President of China will be personallypresent.

The next day when hegoes to the Peking University and he delivers an address he receives a reportas well from the Vice Chancellor’s Round Table, the Minister for Education willbe present.He will have meetings with the Chinese Premier and the ChinesePresident. Next day before he leaves, he will be meeting the Chairman of theNational People’s Congress, which is the equivalent of the Speaker in India. Soan entire range of leaders will be with him, will be interacting with him, willbe exchanging ideas with him and the President will have an opportunity tointeract with all of them.

The second point Iwould like to highlight is, as Pradeep has already pointed out, the Presidenthas been to China several times before. He has been to Guangzhou twice before.The very first time when he was Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission aswell as the Minister of Commerce. He was invited by the planning authorities ofChina at that time. And the last time he visited Guangzhou was as ExternalAffairs Minister to inaugurate the Indian Consulate which operates there. Thepresident has also visited China previously as Defence Minister, when theDefence Framework Agreement was signed.

The President will beaccompanied by a minister and four Members of Parliament on this visit. Theminister is Mr Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State, Independent Charge ofthe Ministry of Textiles. The Members of Parliament are Dr Bhushan Lal Jangdey,Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha – BJP, Shri K C Venugopal, Member ofParliament Lok Sabha from the Congress, Shri Sudhir Gupta, Member of ParliamentLok Sabha from the BJP and Smt.RanjanbenDhananjay Bhatt Member of ParliamentLok Sabha. He will also be accompanied by senior officials from the RashtrapatiBhavan as well as the Ministry of External Affairs.

He will be taking withhim an academic delegation. As many of you who have been covering the Presidentwould know, the President has, on almost all his trips taken delegations ofVice Chancellors with him. This is part of the special focus that he gives toimproving the quality of higher education in the country. In his capacity asvisitor to 114 Institutions of higher learning within the country,he has, inparticular, emphasized the need for Indian education institutions to expandtheir contacts with foreign counterparts to engage in exchange of faculty,exchange of students, joint research etc. So in this particular tour thePresident will be taking with him the Director of IIT Delhi, the Director ofIIT Bhubaneswar, the Director of IIM Kolkata, the Vice Chancellor of theCentral University of Gujarat, the Vice Chancellor of Central University ofJammu, Director of VNIT Nagpur, and Director of NIT Agartala. There would alsobe an officer from Ministry of Education who would accompany him. Thank you.

Shri Vikas Swarup,Official Spokesperson:The floor is now open to questions.

Question:What will be theissues President will be raising during the discussions with the ChineseLeaders?

Jt. SecretaryEast-Asia, Pradeep Rawat:As I said whole range of bilateral issues coveringpolitical, economic and people-to-people domain will be discussed. In additionissues concerning regional and global issues of significance, those will alsobe discussed. Thank you.

Question: I wanted to ask firstabout whether he will bring up the issue of India’s admission to the NSG. It’squite unusual that China has issued a statement ahead of the NSG very clearlysaying that India must abide by the NPT. The NSG meeting plenary is just inJune. So the question really is will the President be bringing up this issuewhen he speaks to President Xi Jin Ping or is this something India has given uphope on this year?

Jt. SecretaryEast-Asia, Pradeep Rawat:See, as I mentioned, I think again I would like to repeatthat it’s an important visit. And as it happens in all these important visitsthat we discuss all issues of interest.

Question:We see that theForeign Ministry of China today said about Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azharin UN sanction issues and China is now in close communicate with Indian side.Can you tell us, is there any progress on this issue and this issue, will thatbe discussed during the President’s visit?

Shri Vikas Swarup,Official Spokesperson:Look on the issue of Jaish-e-Mohammed, I totally agreewith what the Chinese Government has said that they are in close communicationwith the Indian side and we are in close communication with the Chinese side.

Question:Venu, last weekPentagon has reported increased Chinese troops presence on the border withIndia and what is your assessment of those?

Shri Vikas Swarup,Official Spokesperson:Ranjit, you know very well this is a briefing on thePresident’s visit to China. I don’t think these issues are germane to that.

Question:(.. Inaudible…) it’skind of similar. But Just about an hour ago the Chinese charge d’affaires at apress briefing said that whenever there is trouble in South China Sea, ofcourse India gets worried and whenever Indian ships enter the South China Seafor a maritime exercise, then of course China is concerned. Today India hassent four ships to be a part of the maritime exercises in the South China Sea.Do you expect this to be an issue during the President’s visit?

Jt. SecretaryEast-Asia, Pradeep Rawat:I haven’t seen what the Chinese CD has said, but Indianship visits is a normal thing which has been happening. It’s not somethingwhich happened only this time.

Shri Vikas Swarup,Official Spokesperson:Ok, thank you all. This concludes the press briefing.