M A I N   N E W S

Let’s be friends, says China

New Delhi, November 19
Ahead of the visit of President Hu Jintao that begins tomorrow, China has asked India not to “discriminate” against its companies citing security concerns. It has also advocated the need for dismantling of trade barriers to enable bilateral business to grow at a faster pace. Beijing also has complaints as regards the visa system in India and wants changes in it.

“We want there should not be discrimination with Chinese companies,” Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi said. “We understand that every country has security concerns, but if you allow other countries in any area, Chinese companies should be treated equally because we are friends and partners,” he said.

Sun had earlier complained that Chinese companies were barred from investing here. “India has identified various sectors where investment from certain countries, including China, is being discouraged because of security concerns,” he said.

During Hu’s four-day visit, the two countries will sign the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Act (BIPA) and 11 other accords in diverse fields to give a major push to their relations.

The border dispute issue is also expected to come up when Hu holds talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.

Expressing happiness over development of overall economic relations between the two countries, the Chinese envoy said, “There is always something which is not perfect. We have to keep improving.” Sun said there were already 30 Chinese projects underway in India, accounting to the largest number of the country’s projects anywhere in the world.

Sun asked India to recognise China as a market economy and favoured removal of trade barriers between the two countries.

On the visa issue, the envoy said the system in India was slow and travel documents were given to senior managers of Chinese companies for only three months at a time.

“They have to keep going back to renew their visas and it is not sure how long it will take to get one,” he said. The visas should be renewable according to the work needs of the applicant, he added.

However, Sun expressed happiness over the recent Indian decision to relax system for visa issuance. “We hope the situation will continue to improve,” he said.

Last month, India had announced a simplified visa process for Chinese professionals and businessmen coming to India.

The modified guidelines will ensure easier movement of “genuine” Chinese businessmen, professionals, students and their dependents in India. — PTI



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