Wednesday, October 20

China Reaches Out To West Bengal And Eastern India

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In recent years, a number of Indian states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, have been pro-actively reaching out to Chinese provinces with an eye on attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). The India-China Forum of State Provincial Leaders, which was inaugurated in May 2015 during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s China visit, was initiated with an eye on promoting robust links between Chinese provinces and Indian states. Chief ministers of various states, cutting across party lines, have been visiting China, and there have been efforts on both sides to explore new opportunities and look at unexplored states/provinces. China has sought to strengthen its linkages with West Bengal, with a number of Chinese companies present at the Bengal Global Business Summit on January 16-17, 2018 . Out of the 30 companies, 10 visiting India for the first time were from Jiangsu, Shandong and Yunnan. The Chinese consulate in Kolkata worked closely as one of the partner countries of the West Bengal state government. China has also extended an invitation to Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister, on more than one occasion to visit China. She was due to visit in June 2017, but this did not materialize. The Chinese consulate in Kolkata has also been trying to effectively utilize soft power for the building of linkages with West Bengal. It played an important role in the Kolkata International Festival for instance, and also facilitated exchange visits to China for tennis players, students and teachers from West Bengal.

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