New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping took a five-hour-long tour of the heritage coastal town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu on Friday, followed by an elaborate dinner spread hosted by the PM. President Xi, who is on a two-day visit to India arrived in Chennai this afternoon. He was received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Notably, this is not the first time that PM Modi is hosting Xi outside the national capital. In 2014, Modi had welcomed the Chinese President at Ahmedabad.
While National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and EAM S Jaishankar will accompany PM Modi, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Politburo members will escort President Xi on his visit to India.
The visit comes at a time when China had openly criticised Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to revoke Article 370. China, at many occasions, extended its support to Pakistan in raising the Kashmir issue. On Wednesday, President Xi during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had remarked that ‘China is paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu & Kashmir’ and the matter should be ‘properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.’
India took exception to references concerning Kashmir following talks between Xi and Khan and said it is not for other countries to comment on ‘internal affairs of India’.
The two leaders will meet in Mahabalipuram in the evening and visit some UNESCO world heritage sites. PM Modi and Xi will have guided tour of three monuments – Arjuna’s penance, an intricately carved ancient sculpture; Krishna’s Butter Ball – a big round boulder perched on a slope; and Pancha Rathas – a five chariots monument complex. A cultural programme will be organised in honour of the visiting leader at the Shore Temple on Friday evening. Modi will then host the Chinese President for dinner.
On Saturday, PM Modi and Xi will have one-to-one meeting followed by delegation-level talks.No Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs), agreements would be signed or joint communique issued. Shortly before Xi’s departure for Nepal, Modi will host lunch in honour of the Chinese President tomorrow noon.
Objective of The Meeting
The objective of the meeting is likely to be the exchange of views on regional and global issues, finding a broad pathway on bilateral relations, and discussing ways to build better connections between the two countries. Issues pertaining to trade increased market access for products like soybean and non-basmati rice, as well as terrorism, sourcing, financing, and origins of terror are expected to come up during the talks.
Reports have also claimed that no documents would be signed nor a joint communique issued as the talks will be informal and unstructured.
Earlier last month, while speaking to reporters in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said, “I’m not sure if Kashmir will be discussed as this will be an informal summit. We should give the two leaders time to discuss whatever they’d like to.”
She added that President Xi and Prime Minister Modi will discuss issues of larger strategic importance rather than one or two specific issues. On Kashmir, she said, “We see Kashmir as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. We hope that this issue can be resolved through friendly and peaceful negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad.”
Speaking to ANI, government sources had said that the structure of informal meeting between the two leaders would be similar to the first informal summit between the two leaders in April 2018 in Wuhan. The two leaders also recently met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.