New Delhi: India and China on Wednesday are expected to formally announce the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scheduled for this weekend in the coastal resort town of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.
The second summit will likely 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," foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had then said.
Xi is expected to arrive in Chennai on 11 October and leave about 24 hours later which means that the duration of the second summit could be less than the first. 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 for both leaders to attend a cultural programme before Modi hosts a private dinner for Xi on Friday. There will also be delegation-level talks and a private lunch between the two leaders before Xi departs from Chennai.
The interactions with Modi – there are several planned over the space of a day – are expected to give fresh momentum to ties bedevilled by a string of irritants in recent weeks.
India has reacted strongly to what officials described as China’s “pro-active stance" backing Pakistan on the Kashmir issue after India scrapped the temporary provision in its constitution that gave Kashmir special status.
The two countries also postponed talks between Special Representatives on the boundary dispute which had in turn resulted in speculation about whether the informal summit would be held or not.
Last week, China’s envoy to Pakistan, Yao Jing, said Beijing would support Islamabad on issues like Kashmir. “We are also working for Kashmiris to help them get their fundamental rights and justice. There should be a justified solution to the issue of Kashmir and China will stand by Pakistan for regional peace and stability," Yao was quoted as saying by the Pakistani media. India had registered its protest over the statements.
Yao’s comments followed remarks by China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, who also mentioned Kashmir in his UN General Assembly speech, saying that no unilateral action should be taken to change the status quo in Kashmir. China had previously expressed its opposition to the creation of the union territory of Ladakh after the revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir on 5-6 August.
In its reaction, India said the developments in Kashmir were “purely an internal matter" and that it expected other countries to “desist from efforts to change the status quo through the illegal so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir."
China on its part has been upset by India’s military exercise Him-Vijay in Arunachal Pradesh, during which the newly created integrated battle groups are being tested at heights of 15,000 feet about 100 kilometres from the Line of Actual Control.
But efforts have been made in recent days to ensure the atmosphere ahead of the summit remains calm.
“With growing uncertainty in the international situation, China and India should strengthen cooperation on international and regional affairs, just as we once jointly advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which have become basic norms of international relations," China’s envoy to India, Sun Weidong, said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Kashmir issue should be resolved between New Delhi and Islamabad, significantly dropping its recent references that the dispute should be sorted out according to UN Security Council resolutions.