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In trip to India, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao takes cues from Obama

Like Obama on his November trip to India, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is traveling with hundreds of executives and has business deals at the top of his agenda.

By Staff writer / December 15, 2010

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao waves upon arrival in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 15. Wen is on a three-day visit to India as part of efforts to build trust between the rival neighbors amid lingering disputes over territory, trade and telecoms.

Gurinder Osan/AP

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New Delhi

President Obama has serious influence as a globetrotter: Since his trip to India, he’s been followed to New Delhi by France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and now Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

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Mr. Wen, who arrived in India Wednesday afternoon, is even mimicking Mr. Obama’s entourage by bringing with him hundreds of business executives. It remains to be seen if he can best Obama’s souvenirs of business deals worth $10 billion and 50,000 jobs. But Wen will certainly go home with more than a T-shirt.

While China is putting business deals front and center with India, the two largest countries on earth have major strains to hash out behind closed doors. Obama’s earlier visit put China on notice that its recent assertiveness over disputed territory has galvanized neighbors like India to deepen ties with the United States as geopolitical insurance.

China has long been nettled by New Delhi’s sheltering of the Dalai Lama. Meanwhile, India has been particularly unnerved over the past couple of years by:

  • The refusal of China to stamp visas inside the passports of Indian residents – and even an Indian military general – from the disputed Kashmir region; Chinese officials have stamped separate, stapled papers instead.
  • Chinese border incursions along the Himalayan border that remains disputed since a 1962 border war; India has quietly begun large infrastructure buildups in response.
  • The Chinese buildup of naval port facilities in the Indian Ocean, a strategy dubbed the “string of pearls” that’s designed to choke off Indian naval emergence.
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