Premier visits Gandhi's tomb

Updated: 2013-05-21 01:34

By GAO CHANGXIN in New Delhi (China Daily)

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Li cherishes memory of trip he made as youth delegation leader

Under a golden sun softened by the gentle breeze on Monday morning, Premier Li Keqiang paid a solemn visit to the tomb of the late Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi.

Li's salute to the man whose efforts led to India's independence is part of his ongoing visit to the country, which is expected to boost mutual trust and economic cooperation between the world's two most populous nations.

Gandhi's memorial Raj Ghat, built after his death in 1948, sits peacefully in the heart of New Delhi. An aura of serenity was provided on Monday by a broadcast of Indian classical music, while a flame burns eternally in the center of the memorial, signifying the nation's eternal respect for its hero.

Led by the chairman of the memorial's management committee, Li walked slowly down a path cut into the green sea of grass before setting a white wreath on the top of Gandhi's black marble tomb.

Those attending joined Li as he took a step back and fell into solemn silence. He then tossed petals on Gandhi's tomb in accordance with Indian tradition.

Responding to an invitation from the chairman, Li wrote an inscription in the memorial's guest book: “Deepen the heart of love, forge the soul of greatness.”

Advocating non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence from Britain and inspired conflict-avoiding civil rights and freedom movements across the world. Li's visit has been widely interpreted by local communities as a gesture of friendship and commitment that brings Sino-Indian ties to a new level.

Li later met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Hyderabad House, India's national guest house. In a speech to reporters following the meeting, Li reminisced about his last visit to India.

“Twenty-seven years ago, I spent more than a week in India as a leader of China's youth organization. And during that trip the seed of friendship was sown in my heart,” said Li.

“Looking into the future, China and India have huge room for cooperation. We hope that seeds sown this spring will grow into big fruits.”

Li is expected to leave New Delhi for Mumbai on Tuesday, where he will meet with local business leaders and Chinese nationals and institutions before leaving for Pakistan on Wednesday.