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Hu in India Wednesday: Trade imbalance, cultural ties on agenda

Tuesday March 27, 2012 06:27:10 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Chinese President Hu Jintao touches down here Wednesday on a two-day visit to participate in the BRICS summit and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. India is expected to press China for addressing the issue of trade imbalance during the talks.

At the BRICS summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa Thursday, Hu is expected to pitch for reforming global governance and push for internationalization of local currencies of the five-member grouping to promote greater intra-BRICS trade.

This will be the last visit to India by Hu as China goes in for a leadership succession later this year. He last came to India in 2006.

The Chinese president will be accompanied by a high-profile delegation comprising Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, State Councillor Dai Bingguo, senior ministers and business leaders.

Hu has a packed schedule in India, including a bilateral meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday before participating in the BRICS summit next day.

Hu, along with the presidents of Russia, Brazil and South Africa, will attend a gala banquet and cultural programme hosted by Pratibha Patil in the evening.

After the summit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold bilateral talks Thursday with the Chinese president that will encompass the entire gamut of the bilateral relationship.

The two leaders are expected to declare 2012 as the year of the India-China friendship and unveil some initiatives for bolstering cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts.

India is expected to raise the issue of huge imbalance in bilateral trade which has exceeded $70 billion with trade surplus heavily in China's favour.

Hu will speak at the plenary session of the 4th BRICS summit Thursday where he is expected to highlight China's position on global governance, sustainable development and ways to ramp up intra-BRICS trade and investment.

"China is ready to work with other BRICS members at the coming meeting to intensify dialogue and cooperation in a broad range of fields such as international economy, finance, trade and development in a gradual and pragmatic manner," the Chinese foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Beijing, which holds over $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, has been pushing for internationalisation of local currencies of BRICS countries.

"China is quite positive about the internationalisation of its currency. China has been promoting trade settlement in yuan and yuan-denominated loans. China is keen to work with BRICS countries in this area," Li Zhongmin, a BRICS specialist at the influential Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told reporters here.

When asked whether the differences between India and China will hold back the potential of BRICS, Li said business and economic cooperation is the best way to address difficulties in bilateral relationships.



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