Gadkari to visit China next week; first by a BJP chief

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : In the first visit by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president to China, Nitin Gadkari will visit the country for five days from Jan 20 at the invitation of the Communist Party of China (CPC), a party official said Wednesday.

    Gadkari will be accompanied by a delegation of senior BJP leaders, including general secretaries Thawarchand Gehlot and Vijay Goel, secretaries Sudan Singh, Arti Mehra and Laxman Kova as well as political advisor Vinay Saharasbuddhe and foreign affairs cell joint convenor Vijay Jolly. Gadkari’s wife Kanchan will also accompany him.

    “The five-day visit is aimed at promoting party-to-party contact at the highest political level,” Jolly told IANS.

    Commenting on the scheduled visit, Gadkari said he “was keen to study the recent developments in China, including the new energy development and recycle project in rural areas, bamboo products enterprise and agro processing methods”.

    “I am very keen to visit the local neighbourhood community to learn about the party building at grassroots level in China,” Gadkari was quoted as saying in a press release.

    Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan Tuesday night hosted a dinner here for Gadkari and the delegation members who will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

    Addressing the gathering, Zhang said the “Chinese government and the ruling CPC are attaching great significance to this first ever visit to China by any BJP president”.

    “It is an extremely important visit for us and we will accord Gadkari a very warm welcome in China,” the envoy added.

    He expressed the hope that Gadkari’s visit would lead to “further promotion and strengthening of the cordial relations that already existed between the CPC and the BJP”.

    Recalling the visit of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to China in 2003, the ambassador said: “The two countries greatly benefited from the historic visit.”

    He said Gadkari’s scheduled interaction with the Chinese leaders would provide an “opportunity for the top leadership of the two parties to exchange views on a wide range of issues”.

    Gadkari expressed the hope that he would “have fruitful interaction with the political leadership in China”.