Communist Party of China to have MoU with Congress to repose faith

August 5th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Pranay Sharma
New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The CPI-M and other Left parties’ lack of trust in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government notwithstanding, the Communist Party of China has reposed faith in the ruling Congress party and is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) when Sonia Gandhi travels to Beijing Thursday. The MoU is likely to be signed by Sonia Gandhi, as Congress president, and by the CPC general secretary and Chinese President Hu Jintao after a meeting between the two in Beijing Thursday.

“It is strictly an interaction on a party-to-party basis and shows the trust and confidence the Chinese communist party has on the Congress,” well-informed diplomatic and political sources told the IANS.

“The fact that Hu Jintao is meeting Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, a day when nearly 70 heads of state from different parts of the world are arriving in Beijing, shows the importance he gives to the Indian leader and her party,” a high-level source told IANS pleading anonymity.

The Congress has signed a similar MoU with the African National Congress, a party with which it has traditional and emotional ties.

Sonia Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka along with her husband Robert Vadra and their two children are leaving for China Thursday to attend the Aug 8 opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Her son Rahul Gandhi has also been invited for the event, but he might travel separately after finishing his tour of Bangladesh.

Rahul, who is one of the general secretaries of the party, will also be present at the Sonia-Hu meeting.

Since she does not hold any government post, Sonia Gandhi will be sitting in an enclosure reserved for the guests of the Chinese government. She will not be in the VVIP enclosure where President Hu, his American counterpart George W. Bush and other heads of states and governments will be seated.

Sports Minister M.S. Gill, who is likely to head the government delegation, will get that privilege.

In October last year, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul had led a delegation of the Congress party to China. They were the first visitors invited to China after the communist party ended its party congress and as a result got a chance to interact with a number of leaders who are likely to play an important role in China in the near future.

Sino-Indian relations have gone through several highs and lows in the past six decades. In 1962 the two countries had gone to war to settle their boundary dispute. It was Rajiv Gandhi - when he was prime minister - who embarked on a historic visit to China to remove the strains from the relations between the two neighbours.

Bilateral ties suffered a setback in the run-up to the Indian nuclear tests of May 1998 when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had described China as India’s “security threat number one” and also cited it as the main reason that made New Delhi go nuclear.

Attempts had begun to mend the ties during the NDA government’s time but relations improved significantly after the Congress-led UPA government came to power in India in 2004. The two countries are now “strategic partners” and a number of high-levels visits have taken place in the past four years, including one by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China this January.

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