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    Chinese President to Visit India Soon Amid Diplomatic Stand-off With US - Media

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    A diplomatic source told Sputnik that Xi Jinping’s India visit is likely to herald a new beginning in Indo-China relations with the resolution of the border dispute and ironing out of differences on the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

    New Delhi (Sputnik): Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit India before March in what is being seen as an attempt to bolster ties with New Delhi in order to counter the headwinds blowing from Washington, according to a report in The Nikkei Asian Review.

    The visit is being termed as a major diplomatic victory for India Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the face of a tough election in April-May this year, where over 850 million voters will decide whether his party should continue to govern.

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    The Nikkei Asian Review, quoting sources in New Delhi and Beijing, reported that the visit could take place in February at the earliest, or March after the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament.

    "(Mr.) Xi is expected to discuss with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi measures to defuse border tensions, as well as propose deals to expand imports of Indian farm products and increase cooperation in advanced technologies", the Nikkei Asian Review report reads.

    A diplomatic source in New Delhi told Sputnik that the visit is expected to go a long way in resolving the border dispute in the middle sector and the differences between the two countries on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — an ongoing regional trade agreement that aims at integrating major economies in Asia, which constitutes 30 percent of world gross domestic product and 45 percent of the world population.

    On Tuesday, Anup Wadhawan, a top official in India's Ministry of Commerce, concluded his two-day visit to China, wherein he signed several bilateral agreements. Wadhwan also held extensive discussions on RCEP on 21 January 2019 with Yang Zhengwei, deputy director general of International Trade and Economic Affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. 

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    "RCEP Bilateral negotiations between India and China are crucial for early conclusion of RCEP negotiations", the Indian Embassy in Beijing said.

    Sputnik reported in December that the two countries were discussing a concrete proposal on issues concerning the middle sector of the border where the dispute is considered minor. During Xi Jinping's visit to India, the issue may come up for discussion and any consensus reached will definitely boost the election prospect for Modi in the upcoming general election.

    Meanwhile, according to The Nikkei Asian Review's report, the meeting between Xi and Modi could help the Indian prime minister domestically, as it would be "a golden opportunity to show voters a diplomatic victory ahead of an election in which he (is) likely faces an uphill fight".

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    border issue, bilateral cooperation, trade, Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping, India, China
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