Transcript of Media Briefing on President's forthcoming visit to China (May 19, 2016)

May 19, 2016

Shri Vikas Swarup, Official Spokesperson:Good evening friends and welcome to this press briefing on President’s forthcoming visit to China. As you know Rashtrapatiji will be travelling to China from the 24th to 27th of this month. To brief you on this very important visit to a very important country, I have with me two colleagues, Shri Venu Rajamony, who is Press Secretary to the President and Shri Pradeep Rawat, who is Joint Secretary, East Asia.

Joint Secretary East-Asia will give you a broad brush picture of the President’s program is China. Venu will then supplement it with some personal insights of the President and then the floor will be open to questions. With that I give the floor to Pradeep.

Jt. Secretary East-Asia, Pradeep Rawat: Thank you Vikas. As Vikas mentioned that it’s a very important visit. Rashtrapati Ji will be visiting the China on a State visit from May 24 to May 27, 2016. This is his first visit as President of India. You know that he has been to China on several occasions in various capacities. The last Presidential visit from India to China was in May 2000. You are aware that President Xi Jin Ping has visited India in September 2014. That was a significant visit. All of you have seen the visuals of that visit. Some of it is even shown on TV from time to time.

During that visit we agreed to establish a Closer Developmental Partnership. Two Chinese Industrial parks were established. China also announced their intention to realize $20 billion of investment over five years. Since then, momentum of high level exchanges across diverse sectors has been maintained. You are aware that Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China in May last year helped to further push the Closer Developmental Partnership. Business agreements signed during that visit exceeded USD 22 billion.

Rashtrapatiji’s visit is the most significant bilateral visit in last one year. The visit will begin on May 24 in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong, which is the only Chinese province with an economy of over USD 1 trillion. Rashtrapatiji is the first State Leader of India to visit Guangzhou. It further highlights two sides commitment to make Closer Developmental Partnership as a cornerstone of bilateral relationship. As you know we also share historical connection with Guangdong. It is believed that Bodhi Dharma, who Chinese call Ta-mo, first arrived off the coast of Guangdong in 6th century A.D. He is regarded as the founder of Chan, which is basically comes from Dhyan. The Chan or Zen tradition of Buddhism later spread from China to Japan and Korea.

Rashtrapatiji’s program in Guangzhou will highlight the business and cultural linkages, which provide a durable foundation for growth and development of bilateral ties. The second and most important leg of visit will begin on May 26 in Beijing. Rashtrapatiji will arrive in Beijing on 25thevening. Rashtrapatiji will meet with the top leadership of China in Beijing. Senior dignitaries from China will attend various cultural and educational functions being organized during the visit.

A key highlight of Rashtrapatiji’s engagement in Beijing will be the Round Table of Vice Chancellors and Presidents of Universities of India and China. It is the first time that such a round table is being organized as a part of a State visit to China. A number of MoUs in the academic field are proposed to be signed between the academic institutions of two countries. Given the young population of India and zeal for knowledge of Indian and Chinese people, these academic linkages will be mutually beneficial.

During his visit Rashtrapatiji will be addressing a business gathering in Guangzhou. He will share his thoughts with the Indian community again in Guangzhou. He will connect with Friends of India, a committed group of cultural and academic personalities in Beijing and will speak to young, dynamic, and talented Chinese students of Beijing University and through them to Chinese people to convey our vision of bilateral relations. In terms of bilateral relations you are aware of the importance of this relationship. Leadership of the two countries agreed that it is the key relationship for achieving the shared vision of an Asian Century. Whole range of bilateral issues covering political, economic and people-to-people domains will be discussed. As two major powers in the world, the India-China relationship transcends bilateral dimensions. Therefore discussions will also cover regional and global issues of significance.

Rashtrapatiji will depart from Beijing, on 27thMay, basically in the forenoon itself. Thank you.

Shri Vikas Swarup, Official Spokesperson:Thank you Pradeep for that very comprehensive overview of the President’s visit. I will now turn to Venu to supplement, whatever he has to say.

Shri Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to President:Thank you Vikas, Thank you Pradeep. Let me first of all say that the Chinese Government is really laying out the red-carpet for the President. He is meeting a wide range of leaders and virtually every important function that he participates in, will have the presence of a major Chinese leader.

In Guangzhou, he will be meeting both the Governor of Guangdong province as well as the Party Secretary of Guangdong province. The Party Secretary is hosting a special lunch for him, which is a very rare gesture. Normally when a dignitary visits the city of Guangzhou, it is only expected that the Governor meets him, but here the Party Secretary is both meeting him and hosting a lunch.

After he reaches Beijing, the very first function that he has is a reception jointly organized by the Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Indian Embassy. Here the Vice President of China will be personally present.

The next day when he goes to the Peking University and he delivers an address he receives a report as well from the Vice Chancellor’s Round Table, the Minister for Education will be present.He will have meetings with the Chinese Premier and the Chinese President. Next day before he leaves, he will be meeting the Chairman of the National People’s Congress, which is the equivalent of the Speaker in India. So an entire range of leaders will be with him, will be interacting with him, will be exchanging ideas with him and the President will have an opportunity to interact with all of them.

The second point I would like to highlight is, as Pradeep has already pointed out, the President has been to China several times before. He has been to Guangzhou twice before. The very first time when he was Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission as well as the Minister of Commerce. He was invited by the planning authorities of China at that time. And the last time he visited Guangzhou was as External Affairs Minister to inaugurate the Indian Consulate which operates there. The president has also visited China previously as Defence Minister, when the Defence Framework Agreement was signed.

The President will be accompanied by a minister and four Members of Parliament on this visit. The minister is Mr Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State, Independent Charge of the Ministry of Textiles. The Members of Parliament are Dr Bhushan Lal Jangdey, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha – BJP, Shri K C Venugopal, Member of Parliament Lok Sabha from the Congress, Shri Sudhir Gupta, Member of Parliament Lok Sabha from the BJP and Smt.RanjanbenDhananjay Bhatt Member of Parliament Lok Sabha. He will also be accompanied by senior officials from the Rashtrapati Bhavan as well as the Ministry of External Affairs.

He will be taking with him an academic delegation. As many of you who have been covering the President would know, the President has, on almost all his trips taken delegations of Vice Chancellors with him. This is part of the special focus that he gives to improving the quality of higher education in the country. In his capacity as visitor to 114 Institutions of higher learning within the country,he has, in particular, emphasized the need for Indian education institutions to expand their contacts with foreign counterparts to engage in exchange of faculty, exchange of students, joint research etc. So in this particular tour the President will be taking with him the Director of IIT Delhi, the Director of IIT Bhubaneswar, the Director of IIM Kolkata, the Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Gujarat, the Vice Chancellor of Central University of Jammu, Director of VNIT Nagpur, and Director of NIT Agartala. There would also be an officer from Ministry of Education who would accompany him. Thank you.

Shri Vikas Swarup, Official Spokesperson:The floor is now open to questions.

Question:What will be the issues President will be raising during the discussions with the Chinese Leaders?

Jt. Secretary East-Asia, Pradeep Rawat:As I said whole range of bilateral issues covering political, economic and people-to-people domain will be discussed. In addition issues concerning regional and global issues of significance, those will also be discussed. Thank you.

Question: I wanted to ask first about whether he will bring up the issue of India’s admission to the NSG. It’s quite unusual that China has issued a statement ahead of the NSG very clearly saying that India must abide by the NPT. The NSG meeting plenary is just in June. So the question really is will the President be bringing up this issue when he speaks to President Xi Jin Ping or is this something India has given up hope on this year?

Jt. Secretary East-Asia, Pradeep Rawat:See, as I mentioned, I think again I would like to repeat that it’s an important visit. And as it happens in all these important visits that we discuss all issues of interest.

Question:We see that the Foreign Ministry of China today said about Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar in UN sanction issues and China is now in close communicate with Indian side. Can you tell us, is there any progress on this issue and this issue, will that be discussed during the President’s visit?

Shri Vikas Swarup, Official Spokesperson:Look on the issue of Jaish-e-Mohammed, I totally agree with what the Chinese Government has said that they are in close communication with the Indian side and we are in close communication with the Chinese side.

Question:Venu, last week Pentagon has reported increased Chinese troops presence on the border with India and what is your assessment of those?

Shri Vikas Swarup, Official Spokesperson:Ranjit, you know very well this is a briefing on the President’s visit to China. I don’t think these issues are germane to that.

Question:(.. Inaudible…) it’s kind of similar. But Just about an hour ago the Chinese charge d’affaires at a press briefing said that whenever there is trouble in South China Sea, of course India gets worried and whenever Indian ships enter the South China Sea for a maritime exercise, then of course China is concerned. Today India has sent four ships to be a part of the maritime exercises in the South China Sea. Do you expect this to be an issue during the President’s visit?

Jt. Secretary East-Asia, Pradeep Rawat:I haven’t seen what the Chinese CD has said, but Indian ship visits is a normal thing which has been happening. It’s not something which happened only this time.

Shri Vikas Swarup, Official Spokesperson:Ok, thank you all. This concludes the press briefing.



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