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India-China Political Relations

On 1 April, 1950, India became the first non-socialistbloc country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Prime Minister Nehru visited China in October 1954. While, the India-China border conflict in 1962 was a serious setback to ties, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark visit in 1988 began a phase of improvement in bilateral relations. In 1993, the signing of an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the India-China Border Areas during Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s visit reflected the growing stability and substance in bilateral ties.

Visits of Heads of States/Heads of Governments

Cumulative outcomes of nine key visits in recent times have been transformational for our ties. These were that of Prime Minister Vajpayee [2003], of Premier Wen Jiabao [2005&2010],of President Hu Jintao [2006], of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [2008 and 2013], of Premier Li Keqiang [2013], of President Xi Jinping[2014], of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2015) and of President Pranab Mukherjee (2016).

During Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit, the two sides signed a Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation and also mutually decided to appoint Special Representatives (SRs) to explore the framework of a boundary settlement from the political perspective. During the April 2005 visit of Premier Wen Jiabao, the two sides established a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, while the signing of an agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles, signalled the successful conclusion of the first phase of SR Talks. During Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India in November 2006, the two sides issued a Joint Declaration containing a ten-pronged strategy to intensify cooperation. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited China in January 2008. A joint document titled "A Shared Vision for the 21st Century" was issued during the visit. When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India in December 2010, the two sides jointly set a bilateral trade target of US$ 100 billion for 2015.

Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China paid a State visit to India (Delhi-Mumbai) from 19-21 May 2013. During this visit, the two sides signed eight agreements and released a Joint Statement. Some of the significant proposals included in the Joint Statement were the decisions to designate 2014 as the Year of Friendly Exchanges between India and China and hold the first High Level Media Forum.

Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid an official visit to China from 22-24 October 2013. Agreements relating to border,trans-border Rivers, establishing service centers for servicing power equipment in India, road transport and Nalanda University were signed. Also signed were three agreements establishing sister-city partnership between Delhi-Beijing,Kolkata-Kunming and Bangalore-Chengdu.

Vice-President Hon’ble Shri Hamid Ansari paid a visit to China on 26-20 June 2014. During the visit the Vice President met with President Xi Jinping, held talks with Vice President Liu Yuanchao, attended events to mark the 60th anniversary of ‘Panchsheel’,and visited Xian in Shaanxi Province. Three agreements related to industrial parks, training of public officials, and exchange of flood season data on the Yarlung Zangbu River were signed. The two Vice-Presidents also jointly released the English and Chinese versions of the Encyclopedia of India-China Cultural Contacts.

Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping paid a state visit to India from 17 to 19 September 2014. During the visit, President Xi Jinping met with President Pranab Mukherjee and held talks with Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. A total of 16 agreements were signed during the visit in various sectors including, commerce & trade, railways, space-cooperation,pharmaceuticals, audio-visual co-production, culture, establishment of industrial parks, sister-city arrangements etc. The two sides also signed a MoUto open an additional route for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La. The Chinese side agreed to establish two Chinese Industrial Parks in India and expressed their intention to enhance Chinese investment in India.

Prime Minister’s visit to China (May 2015)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China from May 14-16, the visit was rich in symbolism and substance and it opened up a new chapter in India-China relations. For the first time, Chinese President Xi Jinping travelled outside Beijing to receive a foreign leader, in Xi'an in his home province of Shaanxi. President Xi also accompanied Prime Minister to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and organized a grand welcome ceremony at the Xi’an city wall. Premier Li Keqiang joined Prime Minister at the Yoga-Taichi performance in Beijing on 15 May with the world heritage site of Temple of Heaven as the backdrop, the first ever such event, which highlighted the cultural connectivity between the two countries.

There were 24 agreements signed on the government-to-government side, 26 MoUs on the business-to-business side and two joint statements,including one on climate change. The fact that India and China could come up with over 50 outcome documents in just eight months reveals the huge potential that exists between our two countries, as well as the efforts that we have made to elevate our partnership. The inter-governmental agreements covered, as Premier Li said, areas from the heaven to the earth! They included such diverse fields as space cooperation, earthquake engineering, ocean sciences, mining,railways, skill development, education, culture, Yoga, tourism and many more.The strength of our economic partnership could be gauged from the business events in Shanghai. Prime Minister interacted with 21 CEOs of leading Chinese companies and over 40 prominent Indian CEOs attended the Business Forum along with their counterparts from China. The 26 business understandings worth over US$ 22 billion signed at the Forum covered such varied sectors as industrial parks, renewable energy, thermal energy, telecommunication, steel, capital goods, IT and media. Besides, there was a clear consensus among the leaders of the two countries on correcting the existing imbalance in the bilateral trade and injecting sustainability into it. With this in mind, they agreed to establish a high-powered task force that will go into issues relating to the trade deficit as well as expansion of economic engagement.

There was, moreover, an action-oriented accord on broad-basing the bilateral partnership, as could be seen from the range of agreements signed and in the establishment of new dialogue mechanisms, such as the one between the DRC and the NITI Aayog and the Think Tanks’ Forum, besides a bilateral consultative mechanism on WTO negotiations. Three new institutions were launched in partnership, the Centre for Gandhian and Indian Studies in Shanghai, Yoga College in Kunming, and National Institute for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in Ahmadabad.

Both sides decided to establish new Consulates in each other’s country, in Chengdu and Chennai and to expand our interactions at the sub-national level. Two agreements signed – one on cooperation between the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC and another on the establishment of a State/Provincial Leaders’ Forum – reflect this understanding. Prime Minister Modi and Premier Li addressed the opening session of the new Forum in Beijing on 15 May, which is a significant initiative, considering that this is the first time that India has established such a dialogue mechanism with any country. A number of sister-city and sister-state relations agreements between:Karnataka and Sichuan, Chennai and Chongqing, Hyderabad and Qingdao, Aurangabad and Dunhuang were also signed.

Prime Minister also announced the extension of the e-visa facility to Chinese nationals wishing to travel to India. Prime Minister addressed university students at the Tsinghua University and also gave a speech at the reception hosted by the Indian community in Shanghai, the largest ever gathering of the community in the region.

The visit also went on to deliver a message to the international community on cooperation between India and China. There was agreement among the leaders that our relationship is poised to play a defining role in the 21st century in Asia and beyond, with the recognition that the simultaneous re-emergence of India and China as two major powers would have a profound impact on the course of this century. The Joint Statement has a separate section on “shaping the regional and global agenda” where India and China, as two major poles in the global architecture, agree to cooperate on a host of issues ranging from WTO, climate change and terrorism to regional organizations.

President’s visit to China (May 2016)

President Pranab Mukherjee made a state visit to China from May 24 to 27, 2016. Hon’ble President visited Guangdong and met with Secretary of the provincial committee of the Chinese Communist Party of Guangdong Hu Chunhua & Governor of the Guangdong Zhu Xiaodan. In Guangzhou,President addressed a large assembly of the Indian community and also visited the Hualin Temple.

In Beijing he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping,Premier Li Keqiang, Chairman of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang.Vice President Li Yuanchao joined a reception hosted in honour of President by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.President delivered a keynote address at the prestigious Peking University and attended a Round Table between Vice Chancellors and Heads of institutions of higher learning of the two countries. Ten MoUs providing for enhanced faculty and student exchanges as well as collaboration in research and innovation were concluded between the higher education institutions of the two countries.

Other recent high level visits

Hon’ble External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swarajpaid an official visit to the People’s Republic of China from 1-3 February 2015 during which she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, had formal talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and also had a meeting with Mr. Wang Jiarui, Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. External Affairs Minister also inaugurated the 2nd India-China High-Level Media Forum and attended the launch of Visit India Year during her stay in Beijing. On 14 April, 2016 EAM also participated in the 14th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of Russia-India-China Trilateral besides meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi in Moscow.

Hon’ble Home Minister of India Sh. Rajnath Singh visited China from 18-23 November, 2015 and met with Minister of Public Security of China.

Hon’ble Minister for Environment and Forest Sh. Prakash Javadekar visited China in October 2015 to attend the 21st BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change.

Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Gen.(Dr.) V.K.Singh (Retd.) visited China in September, 2015 and met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and he also attended the SCO HOG Meeting in Zhengzhou on 14th December, 2015.

The 19th round of talks between the Special Representatives of India and China on the Boundary Question, Shri Ajit Doval,National Security Advisor and Mr. Yang Jiechi, State Councillor was held in Beijing on 20 April, 2016.

Hon’ble Defense Minister of India Sh. Manohar Parrikar visited China from 16-20 April, 2016 and met with Defense Minister of China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited India on 12-13 August 2016. During the visit, he met with the Prime Minister and EAM.

To facilitate high level exchanges of Party leaders from China and State Chief Ministers from India, a special arrangement has been entered into by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA-ILD) since 2004. There are regular Party-to-Party exchanges between the Communist Party of China and political parties in India.