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Wen visit: Thorny issues to be swept under the carpet news
13 December 2010

As Chinese premier Wen Jiabao prepares to visit India on Wednesday - following on the heels of US president Barack Obama and French president Nicolas Sarkozy - the thorns in bilateral relations like stapled visas for Kashmiris, India's attendance at the Nobel ceremony for dissident Liu Xiabao, and boundary disputes are likely to be underplayed, as the two sides attempt to give wider dimensions to ties.

'Grandpa Wen' as he is known in China will spend some quality time with schoolchildren during his visit to Delhi - and teach them the nuances of the Mandarin language.

In a nation with 22 official languages, it's a bow to the world's newest big power that the curriculum (CBSE) now allows Mandarin to be taught as a third language in schools.

From all accounts, the Indian gesture has gone down very well with the Chinese, who have promised help with things like teacher training.

Wen will arrive on 15 December afternoon, but his official engagements begin only the following day. These include delegation-level talks with the Indian government and lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He is scheduled to give a major policy speech at the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA). The Chinese side has billed it as an important outreach event, and it will be attended by the movers and shakers of Delhi's international circuit.

Observers say that while China will announce no sweeping changes in its India policy, make no sweeping policy announcements, or even a change in its stapled visas policy for Kashmiris, Wen will try to show that China is working on reducing the trade deficit with India.

Bringing along a group of 400 businessmen, Wen is slated to oversee signing of over 45 business deals between Indian and Chinese companies, worth over $20 billion, and cutting across sectors from power to pharmaceuticals.

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Wen visit: Thorny issues to be swept under the carpet