200-member Indian youth delegation visits China
Beijing: A 200-member Indian youth delegation, the first after India and China agreed to double their numbers, arrived here today on a tour during which they will visit several Chinese cities and interact with their local counterparts and officials.
The youth delegation comprising of young professionals, students, scholars, athletes, artists and representatives from civil society organisations and political parties as well as officials from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports arrived by flights in different batches.
This is the first expanded delegation following an understanding reached between the two counties during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Delhi last year and reaffirmed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit here in May this year.
The two countries have been exchanging 100-member youth delegations on reciprocal basis since 2007 following a five-year initiative launched during the visit of former Chinese President Hu Jintao to India in 2006.
It was renewed during the visit of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India in December 2010.
Considering the success of the initiative exposing the youth of the countries to the development in each others countries, the two sides now expanded it to 200 people, which is a sizable number for officials to handle.
Till 2012, the youth delegations visits used to have high profile meetings with top leaders of both the countries but in the later years the focus shifted to field visits and official interactions.
After their visit to Beijing, the delegation will be split into two batches.
One batch will go to Xian city in northwest China and Guangzhou in south China and another to Hangzhou and Shanghai in east China.
During the course of the visit, the delegation headed by Rajeev Gupta, Secretary (Youth Affairs) will attend official meetings with Chinese Government, visit industry and commercial bodies, media organisations, infrastructure projects, besides places of cultural and historical significance, a statement by the Indian Embassy said.
After their arrival here today, Gupta had a meeting with He Junke, President of the All China Youth Federation (ACYF), during which they undertook a review of the programme of exchange of youth delegations.
They agreed that the programme had been useful in contributing to the broad-basing of people-to-people ties between the two countries.
Gupta informed He about the recent decision of India to extend the regime of e-tourist visas to Chinese nationals to facilitate travel to India for recreation, site-seeing, casual visits to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visits.
Indian Ambassador to China Ashok K Kantha held a reception for the Indian delegation at the Embassy this evening.