China welcomes Indian leader

Oct. 27, 2007 at 1:49 AM

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- India’s improving ties with rival China got a boost as top Chinese leaders welcomed visiting Sonia Gandhi, leader of India's ruling Congress party.

Gandhi became the first foreign leader to meet China’s new leadership, led by President Hu Jintao, which emerged from the just-concluded 17th Chinese Communist Party Congress.

Although the two countries fought a major war in 1962 and still have border disputes pending, their relations have been improving lately in the new global geo-political environment.

President Hu assured Gandhi -- who is accompanied by her son Rahul -- that Chinese-Indian relations have developed in depth and enjoyed good momentum in recent years, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Friday.

Hu said long-term friendship, cooperation with mutual benefits and common development between the two nations will change Asia and the world "in a profound way.”

Gandhi also met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders.

“China expects to see a prosperous India and will make efforts to boost mutual trust, cooperation and promote common development,” Wen was quoted as saying.

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