In March this year, on the suggestion of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Banerjee had agreed to lead a delegation to China under the Exchange Programme of Government of India with the International Department of the Communist Party of China.
“Till yesterday (Thursday), everything was going well, but unfortunately, the Chinese side could not confirm the political meetings at appropriate level as informed by our Ambassador in China … It has now been intimated by our Ambassador in China that the political meetings at the appropriate level under the Exchange Programme could not be confirmed. Therefore, the purpose of my visit with a delegation to China under the Exchange Programme is of no use,” Banerjee tweeted on Friday.
In January this year, close to 30 Chinese companies participated at the West Bengal government’s flagship Global Investment Summit in Kolkata.
While the Ministry of External Affairs remained silent on the issue, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said, “We were supposed to leave tonight, and since still there is no confirmation, we cannot wait for an indefinite period. If the political meeting with the appropriate level is not yet confirmed, then this visit to China under exchange programme is of no use. At the last moment, we are unfortunately compelled to cancel the visit.”’
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“At the time the announcement was made, the Chinese side still working on the arrangements and remained in contact with the Indian Embassy in China. The Chinese Consulate General in Kolkata has all along been committed to promoting ties between the Chinese provinces and West Bengal,”the statement read. And will continue its efforts in enhancing friendly exchanges and cooperation between the provinces and this state in economic, trade, cultural, educational and other fields."
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The political exchange programme was supposed to be dovetailed with a business mission to get investment for West Bengal. Business meets were scheduled with chief executive officers of Chinese companies in Beijing and Shanghai. Banerjee was scheduled to return to Kolkata June 30.