Indian PM Modi seeks closer ties in key China visit

Narendra Modi begins China tour with visit to President Xi Jinping's hometown, saying he wants to deepen friendship between the two countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started a three-day visit to China which is expected to focus on promoting Indian exports and seeking more Chinese investment.

During his first official visit to China, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with the Chinese leaders. He has been hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his hometown as the two leaders aim to build a closer relationship. Modi also hosted Xi in his hometown of Ahmedabad last year.

Calling the 21st century "the century of Asia," Modi told China's CCTV on Tuesday that he believes that his "trip to China will not only deepen the China-India friendship, but also set a new milestone for the relations between developing countries in Asia as well as around the world."

The two countries are looking for new markets for their goods, as well as hoping to attract more investment. According to Chinese media, India and China are expected to sign investment and trade deals worth nearly $10 billion during the trip.

As a power struggle for regional domination continues, China and India also have to balance their interests with their differences. The two superpowers maintain a dispute over territory on their borders which they have fought over several times. China's close relations with Pakistan and growing presence in the Indian Ocean have also caused tension. India's approaches to the US and other regional power Japan, as well as the hosting of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama have not helped either.

Analysts say both Chinese and Indian leaders prioritise their economic interests and use their close personal relationship to strengthen trade and investment opportunities, despite political differences.

Modi and Xi are expected to talk about nuclear energy projects, economic and trade development plans, the setting up of two Chinese industrial parks in India as well as border and maritime disputes and the presence of the Dalai Lama in India.

Modi is also expected to also meet with Indians in China and business leaders.

TRTWorld and agencies