Business Standard

Gujarat rolls out red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping will be greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Ahmedabad city airport

BS Reporter  |  Ahmedabad 

The city of Ahmedabad has been scrubbed and spruced-up ahead of the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who begins his two-day India visit from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat on September 17, coincidentally Modi's 64th birthday.

Xi's visit to Gujarat is a symbolic move to promote trade and economic tie between the Chinese provinces and the state. The Gujarat government has said that Chinese companies have shown interest in investing in India, and particularly in Gujarat, in electronic and electrical sector. The Chinese President’s visit along with a large business delegation is seen as a first step towards enhancing economic and cultural ties with the state.

During the visit, the Chinese entourage will sign two memoranda of understandings (MoUs), one each with the state government and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for exchange and sharing in economic and cultural sectors. The Chinese Development Bank (CDB) will sign a third MoU with the state’s Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb) for promotion of industries and industrial parks in the state.

The entire western part of the city has been given a makeover for Xi's visit. All roads that he is likely to take have been lit with coloured lights. Hoardings of Xi, Modi, and Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel with welcome messages in Chinese and English have been put up along the roads. 

On the other hand, the city has virtually become a fortress – more than 5,000 policemen, bomb disposal squads, special commandos, and teams equipped with night vision cameras during a scheduled dinner, have been deployed. 

President Xi and his team will be greeted at the Ahmedabad airport with traditional Gujarati folk dances, followed by a Guard of Honour. 

He will meet Prime Minister Modi at a city hotel where officials from the Gujarat state and province of Guang Dong and Guang Zhou will sign MoUs, as well as officials of CDB and iNDEXTb.

Modi and XI will then have a one-to-one talk for about 20-30 minutes at the hotel before leaving for Sabarmati Ashram, which was home to India’s most famous freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi, where Modi will lead his guest on a tour of the Ashram. In the evening, XI and Modi will share dinner at the Sabarmati Riverfront where there will be another music-and–dance function. 

"Chinese President Xi will be treated to a pure Gujarati vegetarian cuisine during the dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister Modi," Gujarat government spokesperson Nitin Patel said. There will 22 additional guests, 11 from each side, who will be present at the dinner, he added. 

It will be an authentic Gujarati vegetarian cuisine for Chinese President Xi Jinping during his dinner with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Riverfront on Wednesday evening. According to state government officials, with the Prime Minister insisting on a pure vegetarian meal, the Chinese President will be treated with over 100 dishes including popular Gujarati snacks like khaman, dhokla, khichdi, and kadi, among others. On the other hand, authentic Chinese dishes such as Wonton, Tong Sui and Dim Sum coupled with local Gujarati flavour are anticipated to form part of the menu at Hotel Hyatt, Ahmedabad, for the Chinese President on Wednesday afternoon. The dinner at Sabarmati Riverfront will be prepared live by chefs from The Gateway Hotel at the venue, it has been learnt. "Though the precise menu is being strictly guarded by the security personnel, it has been learnt that the dinner will be purely vegetarian Gujarati cuisine since the Prime Minister wants to make the most of the Chinese President's visit to the state," said a senior state government official.

First Published: Mon, September 15 2014. 20:58 IST