New Delhi, April 11 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday embarks on a five-day visit to China and Kazakhstan to meet global leaders and engage in economic diplomacy that is his forte.
In China, besides attending a five-nation summit of emerging economies in the coastal city of Sanya, he is also expected to hold bilateral talks with President Hu Jintao on political affairs, trade and security.
Manmohan Singh is expected to meet Hu on the margins of the third summit of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in Sanya, on the southern tip of the Chinese Hainan Island.
BRICS nations account for 40 percent of the global population and 20 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
At the BRICS summit, its leaders - Manmohan Singh, Hu, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and South Africa's Jacob Zuma - will discuss their concerns on the international situation, financial, development and security issues and outline future cooperation. The event is the third since the grouping was formed in 2009.
The situation in Libya and some other countries in the north African region, causing volatility in oil supplies and prices, is also expected to be discussed at the Sanya summit.
"It (Libya) is an extremely important issue and is expected to be deliberated upon," Manbir Singh, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the external affairs ministry, said at a media briefing here.
He said the leaders will discuss and understand each others' viewpoints on the international financial and economic situation, inflation that is affecting several countries and volatility in currency rates.
Asked if the leaders would discuss China wanting the Yuan to be an alternate currency for trading among BRICS nations, Manbir Singh said: "We are not going to raise it. It is for China to decide what to do with its currency and how it is valued."
Manmohan Singh will be in Sanya for three days and will also hold bilateral talks with Medvedev, Rouseff and Jacob Zuma.
He will fly from there to Astana, the Kazakhstan capital, Thursday where he will hold talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
With the focus on energy and trade, India and Kazakhstan are expected to sign at least six agreements, including one on civil nuclear cooperation. The two sides will ink an inter-governmental framework pact on non-military atomic cooperation.
Manmohan Singh's visit to China comes at a time when a host of pending issues dog relations between the two Asian powers that are ambitiously looking to turn their clout into a major force in global affairs.
A senior Indian Army officer earlier this month raised fresh concerns, saying China's presence in Pakistan-administered Kashmir was "increasing steadily" and its troops were "actually present" along the Line of Control (LoC) - the de facto border that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Beijing dismissed this as it has done whenever India has conveyed its concerns over Chinese projects in Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of the disputed Kashmir territory under Pakistani control.
Bilateral trade will be among the priorities amid India's concerns about the increasing trade imbalance between neighbours. India-China trade last year touched a record $61.7 billion, but China's exports crossed over $40 billion, increasing the trade imbalance between the two.
The two countries have, however, seen a thaw in relations in recent years. During Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's visit last year, the two countries set a trade target of $100 billion by 2015.