Xi starts India visit from Gujarat



Chinese President Xi Jinping begins his India visit from Gujarat, a first for a world leader, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi keen to showcase the state as the country's growth engine.

Xi arrives here Wednesday on a three-day visit.

Nearly 40 percent of the DMIC (Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor) is passing through Gujarat, political analyst Vidyut Joshi told IANS.

As Modi was keen to put the bullet train project on fast track and implement quickly the metro rail project of Ahmedabad, China can provide technology and infrastructural support for these projects, he said.

Gujarat has the longest 1,600 km long coastline in the country. In an earlier era, Gujarat traded with China, Europe and Arab countries.

Dholera, Lakhpat, Mandvi, Porbandar and Surat were the focal point of trading activities with other countries for centuries.

During Modi's tenure as Gujarat chief minister, unparalleled growth of infrastructure was one of the reasons for development of trade with China.

Modi became the prime minister in May this year after he led the BJP to a stunning victory in the general election.

Like in Gujarat, sea trading is an ancient way of life for China.

President Xi is exploring the ancient Silk Route with India which may well take off from Gujarat.

In the early 17th-18th centuries, India used to export spices to China, Europe and Arab countries through Gujarat ports.

Xi is keen to establish an industrial park near Baroda, which falls on the DMIC.

Xi's meeting with Modi in Gujarat may enable India to collaborate in China's effort to revive the Silk Route.

In the 14th century, several Gujarati trading companies operated from China.

"Mumbai No Bahar", a book written by Ratanji Faramji Vacha in 1872 gave an account of Gujarati traders from then Bombay establishing trading firms in the Chinese port city Canton.

Notable businessmen who dealt directly with China from Ahmedabad include Nagarsheth Vakhatchand Khushaalchand and Karamchand Premchand.

After Modi took over the reins of Gujarat in 2001, Gujarat turned into a favoured destination for industrial investment. This got a momentum after Modi's maiden visit to China in 2011.

An investor delegation of 20 members from China's Zhejiang province visited Gujarat this year and shortlisted three sites to set up a China township and industrial hub: Sachan, Dalsana and Jakhwada.

Chinese companies are keen to invest in sectors like electronics, agro-processing, tourism and manufacturing.

In June, Chinese ambassador Wei Wei paid a courtesy call on Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to strengthen the ties between India and China and to scout for fresh investment opportunities in the state. - IANS