Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: AP)

China’s Xi Jinping to visit India on 11-12 October for second informal summit

  • The second summit is expected to build on the relationship reset between the two countries that began in Wuhan
  • Modi and Xi will visit heritage temples and monuments in Mamallapuran

New Delhi: India on Wednesday announced the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping for the second informal summit later this week.

“At the invitation of the Prime Minister, the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping will be visiting Chennai, India from October 11-12, 2019 for the 2nd Informal Summit," India’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “The two leaders had their inaugural Informal Summit in Wuhan, China on 27-28 April 2018," it said.

“The forthcoming Chennai Informal Summit will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to continue their discussions on overarching issues of bilateral, regional and global importance and to exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership," the statement added.

According to a person familiar with the developments, “our objective (through the mechanism of the informal summit) is to ensure that communication between leaders is one which is routinised, easy going and its one that indicates that President XI Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are getting down to business in an informal way not simply in a structured summit.... but in a much more practical way of several hours of one to one discussion at which any subject can be discussed."

The announcement of Xi’s visit comes just two days before the summit which had led to speculation about whether the meeting would be held at all. Doubts about the summit were also fuelled by the recent emergence some irritants in bilateral ties unlike in the case of the Wuhan summit.

The second summit is expected to build on the relationship reset that began in Wuhan where Modi and Xi had agreed that “the two countries have the maturity and the wisdom to handle all our differences through peaceful discussion within the context of this overall relationship and bearing in mind that we would respect each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations."

Xi will be accompanied by the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and other senior officials.

The two leaders are expected to review the state of relations including peace and tranquillity on the border besides trade ties given that the burgeoning trade deficit vis a vis India has been a major source of concern. The two leaders could look at possible additional confidence building measures which could be announced later by the defence and military officials of the two countries, a person familiar with the development said.

On the long running border dispute between India and China, a legacy of their 1962 war, the person cited above said the Xi-Modi summit will not have any “specific negotiations or discussions on this subject or for that matter on any other subject."

“Its going to be more in the nature of where the leaders see the relationship going and where we need to address it and how we need to address it. I would hazard a guess ... that what they discuss would be firstly how we ensure that peace and tranquillity remains in the border areas and whether the current measures are adequate or we need additional supplementary measures. And secondly of course it is in the interest of both sides that we find a fair, reasonable mutually acceptable settlement, There may be some discussion in that regard," the person said.

Modi and Xi are to visit heritage temples and monuments in Mamallapuran built by the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries. There are also plans of a cultural programme before Modi hosts a private dinner for Xi on Friday. There will be delegation-level talks and a private lunch between the two leaders before Xi departs from Chennai.

Given that India and China will be commemorating 70 years of establishment of diplomatic ties next year, the two leaders are expected to discuss how to make bilateral ties more “people centric," the person cited above said. Regional and international issues including global arrangements ie how to make institutions like the United Nations relevant for the 21st century, reforms at the UN and challenges faced by WTO, “the selective walking back from global trading arrangements, these are areas where both of us share similar approach not necessarily identical but similar, that will come up for discussion," the person cited above said.

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