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Chinese PM Wen Jiabao begins bumper Indian trade trip

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China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, arrives in Delhi on Wednesday

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Chinese PM Wen Jiabao has begun a three-day official visit to India to boost trade between the two Asian giants, whose relationship is dogged by mutual distrust.
Mr Wen - the latest world leader to visit India recently - is joined by some 400 Chinese business leaders.
China is India's largest trading partner - two-way trade volumes are set to hit $60bn (£38bn) this fiscal year.
The two nations fought a brief border war in 1962.
But tensions remain between the rising powers over their shared 3,500-km (2,170-mile) border, decades on from the conflict, which China won.
Mr Wen - who last visited India five years ago - brings with him one of the largest teams of Chinese business leaders ever to visit India.


  • China became India's largest trading partner in 2008
  • Bilateral trade to hit $60bn this year
  • By 2050, they are tipped to be the world's two leading economies
  • India's top exports to China include ore, fabrics, copper, precious stones and metals
  • China's top exports to India are machinery, iron and steel, fertilisers and silk
  • Source: Confederation of Indian Industry
It outnumbers those led recently to India by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama.
Mr Wen was scheduled to begin his trip with a visit to a school to discuss Chinese culture, a week after the Indian government decided to include Mandarin on the language syllabus.
The Chinese premier will hold talks on Thursday with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and the ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi.
In October he told Mr Singh on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Vietnam that there was "enough space" in the world for both countries to develop.
China's envoy to India, Zhang Yan, told reporters ahead of Mr Wen's visit: "Relations are very fragile, very easy to be damaged and very difficult to repair. Therefore they need special care in the information age."
Later this week, Mr Wen will travel to India's nuclear-armed neighbouring rival, Pakistan, for a two-day official visit.
Beijing is co-operating with Islamabad on missile development, cross-border infrastructure and a deep-water port.
Persistent disputes Ties between the world's two most populous countries have been dogged by persistent territorial and trade disputes.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrives in Delhi on 15 December 2010 Wen Jiabao is to visit a school to discuss Chinese culture
Their relations have been particularly tense over the last year, says the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder.
Beijing complained in 2009 about visits by the Indian prime minister and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in full.
China is strongly critical of India for granting residence to the Dalai Lama.
Though bilateral trade is booming, analysts say the relationship is not flattering for India.
India has been demanding greater access to Chinese pharmaceutical and IT markets as it seeks to level a large trade surplus in China's favour of up to £25bn.
"India faces a ballooning trade deficit with China and the dumping of Chinese goods that is systematically killing local manufacturing," said Indian strategic affairs analyst Brahma Chellany.
Ties between the two countries were strained again in August when India cancelled defence exchanges after China refused a visa to a Kashmir-based general.
Last year, India protested against the Chinese practice of issuing visas to Kashmiris on separate pieces of paper, unlike the standard visas it offered to other Indians. China gave no explanation for the move.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is due to visit India later this month, when agreements on various areas, including on civil nuclear, defence, space and trade, could be signed.


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