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'Serves our interests to coexist peacefully'

Arriving in India days after a border stand-off, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday that China regards India as an important partner and friend, and it serves their bilateral interests and the world to coexist peacefully.

The visit comes weeks after a border dispute was rekindled by alleged Chinese troop incursions in a disputed region.


Amid the tension: Chinese premiere Li Keqiang arrived in the Capital yesterday on his first foreign trip since assuming office in March. Pic/AFP 

In a written statement issued on his arrival, Li said: “It serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people and is a blessing to Asia and the world at large that China and India coexist peacefully, maintain friendly relations and work together to realise national rejuvenation.”

China, Li said, regarded India as an important partner and friend, adding, “I am looking forward to exchanging views with Indian leaders on bilateral ties and regional and global issues of common concern.”

Li also expressed confidence that his visit would strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, expand common interests and consolidate bilateral friendship, which would inject new vigour into the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership designed for peace and prosperity.

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 visit comes days after a Sino-Indian border stand-off was resolved. Chinese troops intruded some 19 km inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) - the de-facto border - April 15 and pitched tents.

The row ended May 5 after several rounds of negotiations - military and diplomatic - with both sides reverting to the position that existed before April 15. The issue led to tensions. It is likely to be discussed when Li and PM Manmohan Singh hold restricted talks . Singh is also to host a private dinner for the visiting dignitary.

The Chinese foreign ministry said China hoped the visit could further cement the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, strengthen cooperation in such fields as investment, trade and infrastructure, explore complementary advantages, and achieve mutually beneficial results.

China also wants to strengthen communication and coordination with India on international and regional issues so as to make greater contribution to peace and stability in the region and the world as a whole, it said, according to Xinhua.

Today, Li will hold delegation level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Hyderabad House after which the two sides are expected to sign some agreements.

He arrives in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon and proceeds to Pakistan early Wednesday.  

Embassy, hotel turn into fortresses
The Chinese embassy yesterday turned into a fortress as Premier Li Keqiang arrived on a state visit, while a tight security ring was thrown around the Taj Palace Hotel where he is staying. Delhi Police have deployed more personnel and shut down certain roads, including those near the Chinese embassy, as a precautionary measure.

All the inner roads leading to the hotel have also been barricaded and no one is allowed to enter without special passes.
"Personnel have been deployed around the hotel where the Chinese premier is staying. We have increased deployment around the Chinese embassy,” a Delhi police official said.

“Nearly 300 police and para-military force officers have been deployed for security," the police official said.

Police added that strict vigil is being maintained around Majnu ka Tila, home to thousands of Tibetans living in exile. 

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