Day 1 of informal summit: Modi, Jinping discuss trade, terrorism
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held discussions concerning issues of trade and terrorism in Tamil Nadu's Mamallapuram. This marked day one of the ongoing informal summit between the two leaders. PM Modi also took Jinping for a guided tour of the world heritage sites in the ancient temple town. They spent nearly "five hours of quality time" together.
Jinping arrived in Chennai yesterday for second informal summit
For the uninitiated, Jinping arrived in Chennai yesterday for the second informal summit between the neighboring nations, amid tensed bilateral relations, in light of the two countries' contrasting viewpoints on Kashmir issue. He was welcomed by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, and Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri, at the Chennai airport.
The discussions were very open and cordial: Foreign Ministry
The two leaders, aided by interpreters, touched upon several issues including trade deficit and radicalization, officials said. "The discussion stretched over 150 minutes and it was well beyond planned time for conversation. The discussions were very open and cordial. This was quality time that the two leaders spent together one-on-one," Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in a late-evening press conference.
The two leaders visited famous world heritage sites in Mamallapuram
PM Modi also took the visiting leader for a guided tour of the renowned world heritage sites of Arjuna's Penance, Krishna's Butterball, Pancha Ratha and Shore Temple in the ancient temple town. Interestingly, PM Modi was dressed in traditional Tamil attire- Veshti (dhoti), white shirt, and angavasthram (shawl). The two were seen sipping coconut water in the backdrop of rock-cut chariots of Pancha Ratha.
The meeting comes after a sharp exchange over Kashmir issue
To note, Jinping's visit comes after the bordering countries shared a sharp exchange over the Kashmir situation following Jinping's meeting with Pakistani PM Imran Khan. China had said that it was "watching" Kashmir and that it should be "properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter." However, India replied, "It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India."
The first informal summit took place in Wuhan last year
Notably, the first informal summit was held by the two leaders in the Chinese lake city of Wuhan, months after the 73-day standoff between the armies of the two countries in Doklam, last year.
Saturday: The two leaders will hold comprehensive one-one-one meeting
On Saturday, the second and last day of the summit, the two leaders are scheduled to conduct a comprehensive one-on-one meeting, followed by delegation-level talks. Both sides will then issue separate statements on the outcome of the summit. "Both sides know that a lot is riding on the relationship and this is reflected in the summit being held on schedule," a senior official said.