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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Modi, Chinese PM Li set for first meeting in Myanmar.....





Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang next week as both leaders travel to Myanmar for the East Asia Summit and ASEAN summit meetings, officials in Beijing told India Today.

Sources in Beijing said the Chinese side was especially keen for Premier Li to have his first face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Modi. Chinese officials point out that Li was the first foreign leader to speak with Modi on the telephone following his swearing-in, with the two sharing a 40-minute telephone call. Li pledged then to build a "robust" relationship with Modi's government.

Modi and Li - who is second-ranked in the Communist Party of China (CPC) after President Xi Jinping - are both scheduled to travel to Naypyidaw in Myanmar next Wednesday, for three-day visits for the East Asia Summit as well as India and China's respective meetings with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) from November 12-14. With both leaders set to have tightly packed schedules with bilateral meetings fixed on the sidelines of the two summits, officials cautioned that the meeting between the two prime ministers was not yet confirmed.

But sources said the Chinese were keen for the meeting to go ahead to build on the outcomes of President Xi Jinping's September visit to Gujarat and New Delhi. As the Premier, second-ranked Li holds the reins of the Chinese economy and has a more hands-on role than the President in executing policy, as the head of the Chinese State Council or Cabinet.

Although President Xi's India visit was, in some sense, overshadowed by the stand-off in Chumar along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC), Indian and Chinese officials said they are keen to focus on the positives, such as the  20 billion dollar investment pledge from China, and to take concrete steps to move forward agreements such as the setting up of China-dedicated industrial parks in India.