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What President Hu will do in India

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
Last updated on: November 20, 2006 12:39 IST
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Having furthered its relations with the United States (the US Senate on Thursday passed a legislation that will enable the Indo-US nuclear agreement), the Manmohan Singh government will look to boost ties with another global giant, neighbour China, when President Hu Jintao arrives on a visit to India on Monday.

During the visit, the unsettled boundary question and trade relations will be the major topics of discussion.

The two Asian giants are also expected to explore the possibility of a Regional Trade Arrangement.

President Hu and his wife Lin Yougqing will arrive in New Delhi from Hanoi at 1830 IST, November 20.

The visit is expected to be formal without many off-beat events. The Chinese leader and his spouse will visit New Delhi, Agra and Mumbai.

Hu, who will arrive at the Taj Hotel in New Delhi by 1910 IST on Monday, has no engagements that evening. He will have his dinner in his suite at the Taj.

On Tuesday, Hu's schedule begins at 1000 IST.

His first engagement will be at Rashtrapati Bhavan where President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will receive him. He will be accorded a 21-gun salute, followed by a presentation of arms.

After the official welcome, Hu is expected to have a brief interaction with the media.

From Rashtrapati Bhavan, he will be driven to Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi's samadhi. He will be accompanied by his wife. At Rajghat, Hu and Lin Yougqing will observe a minute's silence. After that engagement, Lin will visit the National Museum and Qutub Minar.

Hu's next meeting will be the most important during his visit.

At Hyderabad House, where the government meets with visiting dignitaries, Hu and Dr Singh will meet.

This encounter will be held in the Deccan Suite at Hyderabad House; it will be followed by delegation-level talks.

A few agreements will be signed in the Mughal Room at Hyderabad House. A press conference will be held where the media will try and get quotable quotes from the two reticent leaders.

Since Hu is the first Chinese president to visit India in 10 years -- the last Chinese president to visit India was Jiang Zemin in 1996 -- it is imperative that this part of his visit goes off well for both sides. After the talks Dr Singh will host a lunch for Hu at 1300 IST.

Hu will return to his hotel to meet Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chaterjee, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

He will also meet Chinese and Indian youth delegations at the hotel's Diwan-i-Aam hall, and later participate in an event to commemorate the year of friendship between China and India.

At 1930 IST, Hu will arrive at Rashtrapati Bhavan for dinner.

He will meet President Kalam for 30 minutes before the meal at Rashtrapati Bhavan's North drawing room.

The State banquet will begin at 2000 IST.

On Wednesday, Hu will meet Communist leaders at 0900 IST, after which he will meet L K Advani, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Though Hu will not address a joint session of Parliament, he will deliver a keynote address at 10 am at Vigyan Bhavan.

The political part of Hu's visit will end here.

At 1115 IST, he leaves for Agra with his wife to see the Taj Mahal. He will stay at the Mughal Sheraton hotel in Agra.

After lunch, he will visit the Taj Mahal at 1515 IST. An hour later, he will leave for Mumbai where he will stay at the Taj Mahal hotel.

His final day in India will commence with a meeting with relatives of the late Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis, who worked in China after Japan invaded China in the 1930s.

At 1000 IST, he will attend the China-India Trade and Investment Summit.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh will host a lunch for the Chinese president at the state government's Sahayadri guest house. Hu will leave Mumbai thereafter for Islamabad.

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi