Chengdu, Agra's New Friend

Authors: The Hindu, Business Line

2016-12-22

Agra joins Chengdu's circle of friends to forge a better tomorrow together.
In 2013, under the joint witness of then Prime Minister of India Monmohan Singh and Premier of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang, the Indian city of Bangalore and the Chinese city of Chengdu signed the Chengdu-Bangalore, India, Sister Cities Relations Establishment Agreement, becoming the first pair of sister cities between China and India.
After Bangalore, the Indian city of Agra will also join the circle of friends of this charming Chinese city. On the 22nd of this month, Agra and Chengdu signed the Agreement for the Establishment of Friendly Cooperation Relations between Chengdu and Agra, indicating the formal establishment of cooperation relations between the two sides.
Chengdu is the provincial capital of Sichuan, and Sichuan Province is China's largest regional economic entity closest to India. As early as 2,000 years ago, the Southern Silk Road, which originates from Chengdu, facilitated the delivery of Chengdu's silk, salt and tea leafs to India. It can be summed up that Chengdu and India have always been tightly intertwined in many aspects such as economy and culture.
July this year, Chengdu announced its plan for the establishment of a "world famous software city". According to this arrangement, Chengdu will reference the development of the Indian software industry as blueprint, and make coordinated progress with Bangalore in forging the international software industry's "dynamic duo of the east".
The India - China (Chengdu) International Yoga Festival has already been held for two consecutive sessions since last year, attracting the participation of yoga practitioners and enthusiasts from around the globe. Worth mentioning is that practicing yoga after getting off of work has already become a trendy lifestyle among the ladies of Chengdu.
In May 2015, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visited China and the two countries released the Joint Statement between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India, officially announcing the establishment of a consulate-general of India in Chengdu. The Indian consulate-general is the fourth of its kind in China after Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and currently site selection is underway.
Following the in-depth implementation of full-region opening-up, 16 countries have already obtained the approval to found diplomatic missions in Chengdu. At present, the number of Chengdu sister cities has risen to 32, and that of friendship cooperation cities increased to 39.
The continual expansion of the "circle of friends" brought about the enlargement of the "circle of fortune". In recent years, Chengdu's international "circle of fortune" continued to develop. 278 Fortune Global 500 companies have already set up their presence in Chengdu, of which 199 are foreign corporations, while Chengdu also hosts a total of 6,650 foreign-funded enterprises. Intel, FAW-Volkswagen, Siemens...some of the world's most recognized brands all happened to raise their investments in Chengdu at the same time.
On the list of the "World's Fastest-Growing Cities in the Next Decade" published by Forbes magazine, Chengdu was listed on the top spot.
In order to further strengthen communication with the rest of the world, Chengdu is constantly reinforcing its function as a transportation hub city. Its international flight routes network covers major hub cities in North America, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia, with almost one hundred international routes that can access 74 overseas cities and regions. Construction for Chengdu's second airport broke ground in May this year, and upon its completion, Chengdu will become the third city in China to be served by two of its own airports, after Beijing and Shanghai.
As a city that has enacted the 72 hours visa-free transit policy, this year Chengdu will strive to implement a 144 hours visa-free transit policy for the citizens of selected countries, expand the range of movement sanctioned for foreigners entering Chengdu under the 72 hours visa-free policy, and request an eight days visa-free convenient entry policy for tour groups from certain nations. Meanwhile, the availability of departure tax-refund for foreign tourists in Chengdu is conducive to a better traveler shopping experience. At the same time, Chengdu also initiated the "Home in Chengdu" campaign, which aims to cultivate a better environment for foreign nationals living and working in Chengdu.
Chengdu, this extra large city in western China, at present is fully committed to positioning itself as the economic center, science and technology center, cultural innovation center, foreign communication center and comprehensive transportation hub of western China. Under the opportunity of its establishment as a National Central City, Chengdu will leverage on its sound infrastructure facilities and massive development potentials to partner with various friendship cooperation and sister cities in more sectors and at higher levels, so as to jointly generate mutual benefits and create a better tomorrow.
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