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India, China Make 2006 "Friendship Year"

India and China will commemorate 2006 as "Friendship Year" to forge closeness through a series of events, including operationalization of border trade through Nathu La besides high-level visits and exchanges in defence and other areas.

A visit by Bollywood song and dance troupe to China and reciprocal hosting of film festivals will be among highlights of the year-long calendar comprising 40 events.

During the year, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee will visit China, the two armies will hold sporting activities besides which the two countries will sign cultural exchange programme 2006-8 and sign and operationalize MoU (memorandum of understanding) on India-China Steering Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation.

As per the programme, border trade through Nathu La will be operationalized by the summer of this year.

Inauguration of the Indian-style Buddhist temple in Luoyang and Xuan Zang Memorial in Nalanda, establishment of friendship cities, "Made in India" show in China and Indian fashion show in China are also part of the celebrations. The two countries will also have exchanges in cultural and tourism fields, including Shaanxi cultural week in India, Indian food festival in China, Indian tourism seminar and road shows in China, Indian photographic exhibition in China and launch of Chinese language website by India's Tourism Ministry.

Organization of "Treasurers of ancient India: exhibition of Indian civilization" or exhibition on "Journey of Buddhism from India to China" will also be a part of the programmes.

(CRIEnglish.com January 26, 2006)

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