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Pranab to visit quake hit Sichuan province in China

BEIJING: Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukerjee has given a new dimension to his China visit by deciding to stop over at the earthquake hit Sichuan province before returning to India on Friday.

Mukherjee will receive a planeload of relief supplies being sent from India for the disaster affected people at the Chengdu airport in Sichuan on Friday.

Mukherjee also discussed plans by the two countries to continue with the trend of high level visits on both sides as part of the larger effort to dispel mistrust and improve relationship. India’s President Pratibha Patil will visit Beijing next year.

Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi accepted his invitation and agreed to visit New Delhi later this year. Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People’s Congress, the Chinese parliament, is also scheduled to visit India this year.

Yang expressed concern about demonstrations by Tibetan refugees in India against China. Mukherjee assured him that India will not allow any anti-China activities by the refugees.

Mukherjee and Yang discussed the political situation in the region and the world at large. Both sides agreed that the emerging situation in Pakistan needs to be watched carefully.