NEW DELHI: Differences over key issues between India and China will not come in the way of the two countries ramping up political contact. India will host a six-member delegation of the powerful central committee of Communist Party of China (CPC) for five days starting Wednesday, official sources told TOI.
The delegation will be headed by Meng Xiangfeng, a close confidant of President Xi Jinping and deputy director of the general office of the CPC central committee. The visit, taking place under the aegis of the ministry of external affairs’ (MEA’s) exchange programme with the international liaison department of CPC (IDCPC), will see the delegation interacting with a host of BJP members and ministers, including commerce minister Suresh Prabhu, junior external affairs minister V K Singh and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis This will be the third high-profile visit in quick succession from China after those by foreign minister Wang Yi and state councillor Yang Jiechi.
Xi and PM Narendra Modi, during the latter’s visit to China in 2015, had agreed to provide a fillip to the MEA-IDCPC exchange programme as a means to enhance contact between Indian states and Chinese provinces. Referred to as CPC’s highest organ of authority when the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, is not in session, the central committee is responsible for electing members of the party’s politburo and politburo standing committee.
Ironically, the delegation will land in India on a day foreign minister Sushma Swaraj will start her three-nation tour of Southeast Asia — Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia — looking to further boost India’s “intensive bilateral interactions” with the region within the framework of the Act East policy.
On the first leg of her visit, Swaraj will be in Thailand, where she will meet her counterpart Don Pramudwinai to discuss all bilateral issues, with the focus on political, defence and economic ties and further enhancing India’s engagement with Asean member states. Thailand, as the MEA said in a statement, will assume the role of coordinator country for India-Asean relations in the middle of 2018.
Beijing will closely follow a series of substantive engagements that the government has lined up with Asean member states this month to mark 25 years of India-Asean dialogue partnership, including the invite to the heads of government/state of all 10 Asean member states for the Republic Day parade.
Several countries in the region, who believe India has the potential to act as a counter-weight to China, have repeatedly urged India to enhance its presence in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, Swaraj will call on President Joko Widodo and also meet the new Asean secretary general, Lim Jock Hoi. “As the biggest country in the Asean region with the largest economy, Indonesia is an important partner for India, including in trade and strategic matters,” said the government.
Finally, Swaraj will visit Singapore, where she will inaugurate the regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas of Asean countries on January 7. The theme of the event is “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic Asean-India Partnership”. She will also have bilateral meetings with Singapore leaders.
Source : timesofindia