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Congress, CPC pledge to enhance ties

By Raghavendra in Beijing
Last updated on: August 07, 2008 20:39 IST
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Cementing the party-to-party ties, the Congress and the Communist Party of China on Thursday agreed to promote regular exchanges between the two ruling parties of the neighbouring countries.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Wang Jia Rui, Minister at the International Department of the Communist Party of China, signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard in the presence of United Progressive Alliance chairperson and party president Sonia Gandhi and Chinese Vice-President and top Communist leader Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People.

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The signing ceremony was preceded by a 30-minute meeting between Gandhi and Xi, who is tipped to succeed Chinese President and CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao when he completes his term in 2012.

The MoU seeks to promote exchanges, especially youth exchanges, to allow both sides to develop a better understanding on development and related issues of shared interest.

The Congress has signed a similar MoU with the African National Congress, with which it has traditional ties.

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Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma and India's Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao were also present.

Rahul Gandhi was also present during the meeting Gandhi had with the Chinese Vice-President shortly after she arrived in Beijing along with her family to witness the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Friday at the invitation of the CPC.

During her talks with Xi, Sonia Gandhi complimented the Communist leadership for the 'historic event' of hosting the Beijing Olympics.

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Recalling her trip to Beijing in October last year during which she visited the Olympic facilities, Sonia said "all of us were impressed."

She said they were also impressed by the preparations for Beijing Olympics which showcases the Chinese' "organising genius and creative ability to put together such a majestic show for which we congratulate you."

In his remarks, Xi described the Olympic Games as a "great sporting gathering for all Asian people" and noted that during the preparations for it, "we have received full support as well best wishes from Indian people and the Indian National Congress."

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He said especially during the Indian leg of the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi, the Indian government took 'effective' measures to ensure that it was a successful relay. "For that, we express our deep gratitude."

"I believe the support of the whole International Olympic family, of course, including the Indian Olympic Committee, and with the efforts of all athletes and coaches from all around the world, we are going to make the Olympic Games in Beijing a unique and well run one."

He wished the Indian contingent taking part in the Games 'a very great performance'.

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Xi said that after the devastating earthquake in southwest China in May this year, Sonia had expressed her condolences and the Indian government had responded swiftly by sending relief material to China.

"For that, we are very grateful. Here, I would like to convey the best wishes from President Hu Jintao to you," the vice-president told Sonia.

Xi said the situation had been stabilised in the earthquake-ravaged areas and the government was now actively engaged in rebuilding of the disaster zone.

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"We have confidence and capability in fighting against the earthquake so that the affected people can return to their homes as soon as possible."

The vice-president also told Sonia that the Olympic torch relay had completed its run through the temblor-affected Sichuan province and was now in Beijing.

"We believe that with such an array of arrangements, we have successfully combined the Olympic spirit with the spirit that we have demonstrated in the fight against the earthquake."

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