The Business Times

Xi and Modi have a historic opportunity

Published Mon, Sep 15, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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IF all goes according to plan, the long-anticipated three-day visit to India by Chinese President Xi Jinping - which starts on Wednesday - has the potential to transform the China-India relationship into a long-term win-win partnership.

Mr Xi will first visit Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, where he arrives on Mr Modi's birthday, before flying on to New Delhi. There is some positive momentum for Mr Xi to build on: Mr Modi is no stranger to China. He has visited the country in 2011 as chief minister of Gujarat, and his home state has received most of the Chinese investment that has gone into India so far. Chinese officials view him as pragmatic and business-friendly. Mr Modi is also known to harbour a deep desire to strengthen India's economic links with China.

If the reported intentions on both sides are anything to go by, Mr Xi's visit could be the most substantive and far-reaching yet by any Chinese leader to India. Chinese diplomats have revealed that China intends to invest a whopping US$100 billion over the next five years in India, about three times the amount pledged by Japan. China is seeking to help modernise India's railways, build industrial parks, ports, roads, waterways and other infrastructure.

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