Li Keqiang, born in 1955, became China's premier in March 2013. Like ex-president Hu Jintao, his power base lies with the Communist Youth League, where he was a member of the secretariat of the league’s central committee in the 1980s and later in the 1990s the secretariat’s first secretary. His regional governance experience includes a period as vice party boss, governor and party boss of Henan province between 1998 and 2003 and party boss of Liaoning province beginning in 2004. He became vice premier in 2008. Li graduated from Peking University with a degree in economics.
Li Keqiang on New Delhi visit vows to build trust with India
Premier calls for co-operation between Asia's two giants
Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Monday to build trust with India and declared that ties between the Asian giants were key to world peace as he visited New Delhi only weeks after a border spat.
Speaking alongside his counterpart Manmohan Singh, Li said China wanted to increase co-operation with India, saying his choice of destination for his first foreign visit showed the importance that Beijing attached to ties with Delhi.
“The purpose of my current visit to India is three-fold – to increase mutual trust, to intensify co-operation and to face the future,” Li said.
“On the basis of deeper mutual trust, our two countries can further deepen our mutual understanding and construct a new type of relations between major countries, promote healthy and sound development of China and India.
“That will be a true blessing for Asia and the world.”
Li arrived in New Delhi yesterday afternoon on the first leg of his maiden diplomatic trip.
In prepared written remarks delivered on arrival, Li said China regarded India as a "key partner and friend", and that friendly ties between them would contribute to global peace and prosperity.
"China and India are friendly neighbours connected by common mountains and rivers," Li said. "For millenniums, the Chinese and the Indian civilisations have drawn splendour from each other through exchanges and made significant contributions to the progress of mankind."
Li added that he was confident his visit would help in enhancing communication, deepening co-operation, increasing mutual trust and cementing ties.
The visit would provide "new impetus to the strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity between China and India", he said.
Shortly after his arrival in the Indian capital, Li met his Indian counterpart, Dr Manmohan Singh, who hosted a dinner at his residence for the premier.
Delegation-level talks between the two sides are scheduled for today, with topics ranging from border issues to trade imbalances. Li is to attend a business summit in India's financial capital, Mumbai, on Tuesday, among other activities.
India has been pressing for greater access to mainland markets, as its trade deficit with China totalled US$29 billion last year. China is India's biggest trading partner.
New Delhi also seeks assurance that a Chinese plan to build three more hydropower dams across the Brahmaputra River, known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, will not affect India's downstream water flow.
Other irritants in bilateral ties including Beijing's close relationship with Pakistan, India's bitter rival, and the presence in India of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile.
The border spat last month had threatened to see Li's visit called off, but the Indian government chose to go ahead with the trip, highlighting its policy of trying to widen areas of co-operation with China while attempting to resolve key differences.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse