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India and China hold first major talks since Modi win

AFP | Sunday, Jun 8, 2014

In a speech marking India's 68th year of independence from British colonial rule, Prime Minister Modi acknowledges that times have changed since the Planning Commission for the 12th Five-Year plan, and promises that a new institution would be set up.

NEW DELHI - China's foreign minister begins a two-day visit to India on Sunday for the first high-level talks between the world's two most populous nations since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge.

Wang Yi is coming to New Delhi as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping to "establish contact with the new government of India", the Indian foreign ministry said.

Despite his hardline nationalist reputation, Modi has been making overtures to traditional rivals China and Pakistan since his Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power last month.

The new Indian leader has invited Xi to visit later this year.

Wang is coming "to engage with our leadership and we will take it from there", foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told a news briefing last week.

"We would be in a listening mode to engage and see." The Chinese foreign minister is set to meet Indian government officials, including his new Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and President Pranab Mukherjee. He is slated to see Modi on Monday.

Foreign policy expert Ranjit Gupta told AFP the visit was a "good augury".

"China has gone all out to woo the new Indian government, which is a great gesture," Gupta, a member of the Indian Security Advisory Council of the US-India Institute, a Washington-based think-tank, said.

"India and China are emerging global powers and with better relations, India will hopefully resume its growth path and reclaim its position in Asia."

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