Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is speaking at the business leaders summit in Delhi
CHINESE Premier Wen Jiabao, accompanied by more than 400 business leaders, will seek to boost trade with India and soothe tensions between the world’s fastest-growing major economies when he visits today. Wen’s visit is the first by a Chinese premier in five years. He is accompanied by China’s top tycoons, underscoring the growing commercial ties of countries which, between them, house more than a third of the world’s population. ‘Impressive business delegations have accompanied Barack Obama and David Cameron, but when the Wen circus rolls into town with 100 of China’s top tycoons, the red carpet needs to be a bit longer,’ said a commentary in the Hindustan Times today. “Let trade do the talking, other issues that add to the trust deficit will hopefully get addressed on the way.” The two countries, one-time rivals who went to war in 1962, are now entwined by their booming trade relationship and rising global clout. Both have stood together to resist Western demands in world trade and climate change talks, but they have also clashed over China’s close relationship with Pakistan, fears of Chinese spying and a longstanding border dispute. Wen is expected to announce more Chinese investments in India or lower trade barriers to assuage the worries of Indian politicians, peeved that the Sino-Indian trade balance is heavily in China’s favour. The Sino-Indian trade relationship is overlaid with political and strategic rifts. Beijing’s longest running grudge against India is over its granting of asylum to Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, who fled to India in the 1950s following a failed uprising, setting off a chain of events that led to the war between them. Hundreds of demonstrators wearing orange T-shirts with slogans such as ‘Free Tibet Now’ took to the streets of central Delhi, shouting ‘Wen Jiabao go back!’ and ‘Tibet’s independence is India’s security.’ The Tibetan protests, which usually accompany visits by Chinese leaders to India, were peaceful, watched over by a heavy police presence. Security was also stepped up outside the Chinese embassy in Delhi.
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