New Delhi: Prime minister Narendra Modi has offered to host Chinese president Xi Jinping at Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency in October for the second India-China informal summit, a report said Wednesday.
This will be one of at least three possible interactions between the two this year —- one of the other two to take place at Bishkek in June on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet and then later in Japan for the G-20 meet.
Modi hosting Xi in Varanasi, as the Indian Express reported on Wednesday, is in return for Xi receiving Modi in Wuhan last year in April. Varanasi is Modi’s parliamentary constituency, where he has previously hosted Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe albeit for a short time for an Aarti on the banks of the river Ganga.
The invitation to meet at Varanasi has seen conveyed to the Chinese side, the news report said.
A foreign ministry spokesman commenting on the Indian Express report on Wednesday indicated that the time and venue of the second informal summit between Modi and Xi were still being worked out.
"During the first Informal Summit in Wuhan, Chinese President Xi had accepted the invitation of PM Modi to visit India for the next Informal Summit in 2019. The two sides are in touch, through diplomatic channels, to finalise the date and venue for the meeting. Details about the visit will be announced in due course after the details are finalized," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
The Wuhan talks happened in the aftermath of the 73 day long Doklam standoff. It was seen as an attempt to stabilise ties after the tense face-off in Bhutan. The Wuhan meet helped cool temperatures as the two leaders gave “strategic guidance" to their armed forces to ensure there was no repeat of a Wuhan like situation. The template of an informal summit and its outcomes have so far seemed to have worked well with no major border incident since the Wuhan meet.
Previously, Modi hosted Xi in Ahmedabad, during Xi’s first ever visit to India in 2014. And the Chinese president had received Modi in Xian, his capital of his home province— seen as reciprocating Modi’s gesture of welcoming Xi in the prime’s minister home state of Gujarat. Xi later visited India for the BRICS summit in Goa in 2016.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, Modi is also expected to meet US president Donald Trump twice this year— once on the margins of the G20 in Osaka next month and the second meeting to take place when Modi visits the US for the UN general assembly session later this year.
Modi is likely to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the SCO meet next month as well as when he visits Russia for the Eastern Economic Forum meet in September.