President Pratibha Patil today left for Beijing on a six-day state visit to China, along with a 60-strong business delegation comprising members of all the three apex business chambers of India.
The president's visit comes at a time when China has become India's largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between the two countries grew 34 percent in 2008 to touch $51.8 billion, though in 2009 it slipped to $43.27 billion.
Also accompanying the president are minister of food processing industries Subodh Kant Sahay, MPs Jayanti Natarajan, Ramdas Agarwal and former rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.
The trip, the first in 10 years by an Indian head of state, has come at a time when both countries are accelerating domestic economic development and responding to shared regional and international challenges.
It also comes amid skirmishes over some thorny issues plaguing bilateral ties, although the general outlook is still rosy.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two. Both Beijing and New Delhi have displayed strong political will to build friendly ties.