India

India PM Narendra Modi to visit China in May

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping wave to the media before a meeting in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. Image copyright AP
Image caption Chinese President Xi Jinping visited India in September

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China in May, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has announced during a three-day visit to Beijing.

China is one of India's top trading partners but they vie for regional influence and dispute their border.

The announcement comes after US President Barack Obama's landmark visit to India last week.

India and the US share an interest in curbing China's growing regional influence.

During Mr Obama's landmark visit he and Mr Modi signed the "Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region" pledging to work together to keep freedom of navigation, maritime security and air space safe, especially in the South China Sea.

Correspondents say it was the first time India and the US had come together openly to say that they do not want Asia to be dominated by one power.

"Mr Modi is going to come in May. I will give them dates today. This is a preparatory visit," Ms Swaraj told reporters in Beijing, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to take Mr Modi to his home province of Shaanxi, reports say.

Mr Xi visited India in September. The two sides signed 12 agreements during his visit.

Although Mr Modi is widely seen as taking a more assertive line on China than the previous Congress-led government, analysts say he will be careful not to alienate China, whose investments India needs to boost its economy.

Despite the continuing tensions, trade between India and China has risen to almost $70bn (£43bn) a year, although India's trade deficit with China has climbed to more than $40bn from $1bn in 2001-2002.

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