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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in India on Friday for the second India-China informal summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid hopes that they will craft an overarching framework to develop bilateral ties by addressing a growing list of irritants.

There is no set agenda for the talks in Mammalapuram, Tamil Nadu, but a loosely scripted outline will allow the two leaders to pick up subjects under broad themes such as international and bilateral issues, said a person familiar with the development said.

Given that Modi has been re-elected with a stronger majority in Parliament than in 2014 and Xi is viewed as president for life, the two leaders could work at charting out a vision for bilateral ties for the next two or three decades.

Former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh said there are three broad categories of issues—global and regional, economic and bilateral—that were expected to come up for discussion. However, before that, Modi and Xi “are expected to look at resetting the temperature between the two countries". Irritants that have cropped up in the recent weeks include New Delhi’s annulment of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

Mansingh cited India’s criticism of Xi’s reported remarks on Kashmir during a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan “as an indication that New Delhi was prepared to stand up to China". That it came just before the informal summit too was significant, Mansingh said.

China has also been upset over India conducting a military exercise in Arunachal Pradesh that Beijing claims is part of its territory.

In a less demanding task, the two leaders could touch upon making global arrangements more relevant to their rising nations and the challenges faced by the World Trade Organization (WTO). India, for instance, has pressed for a reformed United Nations with a permanent seat in the Security Council.

On economic issues, the two leaders could look at how to fix the trade gap which has risen to over $50 billion in China’s favour. On its part, China has been looking to press for India to adopt Huawei’s 5G next-generation technology for wireless communications. Equally, New Delhi has been concerned about the lack of market access in China.

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