India will soon open a Consulate General in the booming southern Chinese city of Guangzhou which would serve the needs of the growing Indian community in the region, especially the businessmen.
"We have done the initial spadework and identified the personnel to be posted in our new Consulate General in Guangzhou," Indian Ambassador to China, Nirupama Rao, addressing Malayalees who had gathered to celebrate 'Onam,' the traditional harvest festival, in Beijing.
"We would be opening the Consulate in Guangzhou very soon," she said, noting that India and China had taken the decision to open new consulates in Guangzhou and Kolkata respectively during the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao last year.
Rao, who has just returned from Guangzhou, said that she had interacted with the Indian community in the booming southern Chinese city, who have warmly welcomed the opening of the Indian consulate in their city.
India currently has only one Consulate General in Shanghai on mainland China. The country also has a Consulate General in Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China.
In the absence of an Indian Consulate in the vast southern China region, NRI traders from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and other countries, who have surrendered their Indian citizenship, had to go either to Beijing or Hong Kong to get Indian visas.
Guangzhou or Canton is the capital of Guangdong Province, one of the growth engines of the booming Chinese economy. Guangdong's foreign trade volume with India reached USD 1.31 billion in the first quarter of the year, up 77.1 per cent year-on-year, and it is expected to grow even faster.
Being a Malayalee herself, Rao expressed happiness over celebrating the spirit of 'Onam' and the 'Onam Sadya', traditional feast organised by the Beijing Malayalee Association (BMA), an informal group of Keralites in the Chinese capital.
She urged the Indian community in China to contribute their might to the further strengthening of India-China relations, which she described as one of the most important bilateral ties in the world.
Rao said that India-China relations have made significant progress in recent times with frequent high-level exchanges, booming trade ties and increased people-to-people exchanges and air connectivity.
She said the Indian embassy and other missions in China would work closely with the Indian community to further strengthen the bond between the two great civilizations which have a history of over 5,000 years.
"We must strive even harder to cement India-China cooperation and deepen mutual trust and confidence. This is our common task," she said.
Last night, the Indian Ambassador also attended an gala event organised by the Indian Community in Beijing (ICB) to mark the 60th anniversary of India's independence.