After Mao Ze Dong and Deng Xiaoping, the 64-year old Hu Jintao has finally emerged as the strongest man in China. It is another matter that unlike the two giants of the yesteryears, he has not got sufficient influence to name a future leader single-handedly. That’s why the new leadership reflected the principle of "collective leadership".However, the experts of Indo-China relations hope that Sino-Indian strategic relations would get further fillip during his second innings. He is the man who had once proposed to turn the disputed Sino-India boundary into a "bond of good neighbourliness and mutually beneficial cooperation". It is to point out that Hu is all set to offer a red carpet welcome to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Beijing this week.
"We will pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and win-win strategy of opening-up. We will develop friendship and cooperation on the basis of the five principles of peaceful co-existence and push for the building of a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity," Hu told the media in Beijing immediately after his re-election.
Hu, who has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh several times, including during his maiden state visit to New Delhi last November, is said to have established a personal rapport with him.Hu will be hosting UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi here on October 25 and discuss bilateral ties, CPC-Congress exchanges and regional and international issues of common interest.
Sonia is expected to be the first head of a foreign political party to meet with Hu and the new-elected Chinese leadership, signalling the high importance Beijing has placed on Sino-Indian relations, which was upgraded to strategic level in 2005 during Prime Minister Wen Jiabao`s maiden visit to India.
However, it is a fact that after a cautious start, President Hu Jintao has emerged politically stronger after five years at the helm, strengthening his grip over the ruling Communist Party which he will head for another term. Hu Jintao, who was promoted by Deng Xiaoping to the powerful politburo nearly 14 years ago, was re-appointed as the party boss at the first plenum of the newly-elected Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 22, 2007 which also named the new leadership for the next five years.
Hu, the sixth Chinese President, will also be the chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) controlling the world's largest standing Army of 2.5 million. Hu, who assumed the top party post in 2002 with the leadership stacked against him, has eschewed personality cult while steadily consolidating his grip on the party apparatus in recent years by co-opting or sacking political rivals allied with his 80-year-old predecessor, Jiang Zemin.
Among the four new members out of nine are Hu's protege Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang, promoted by Zemin but a loyal cadre, and Xi Jinping, the son of Chinese Communist Party hero Xi Zhongxuzn who fought along with the charismati Mao Ze Dong, and tipped as frontrunner to succeed Hu.