Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi will travel to China Dec. 19 on the first visit by the leader of the world's largest democracy to its neighboring communist rival since 1954, the government said Thursday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Aftab Seth said Gandhi would first stop in the central Chinese city of Xian, the site of ancient terra cotta statues, before arriving in Beijing a week from next Monday. Gandhi will be accompanied by his Italian-born wife, Sonia, and senior officials during his five-day China visit that will end Dec. 23 after a trip to Shanghai. It was known for some months that Gandhi would be visiting China before the end of the year, but the long-awaited announcement was the first official confirmation by New Delhi of the dates.