Indian Politicians and Business Barons Head to the Olympics

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Aug. 7 – Indian politicians and business barons are expected to fly into Beijing today in time for the Opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics at 08-08-08-08-08-08. Amongst the politbureau, ruling party leader, Sonia Gandhi will be in Beijing with her family; son Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Vadra, son-in-law Robert Vadra and their two children. Sports minister M. S. Gill will also be present.

Business tycoon, and India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani will also be present during the opening ceremony. Flying in on his own jet, he will be arriving in Beijing with his family, wife Nita Ambani and their two children, to witness the Olympic ceremony.

While Sonia Gandhi and her family have personally been invited by the Chinese government, Mr. Gill has been invited by the Olympic committee and will officially represent India at the opening ceremony, along with President Bush and Hu Jintao.

This is Sonia Gandhi's second visit to Beijing in less than a year, she had come to Beijing on an official visit last October. Although India-China relations are brittle, China has always treated Sonia Gandhi with respect, she was given a state welcome last year.

China's bonding with the Gandhi’s is mainly because Sonia’s husband Rajiv Gandhi broke the ice with China when he made a landmark visit to repair ties in 1988. Rajiv Gandhi’s meeting with the Deng Xiaoping was “very warm”. This was the first visit by a sitting prime minister to Beijing since the border war of 1962 put relations into deep freeze.