Modi & Xi Jinping Begin One-on-One Talks in China’s Wuhan

PM Modi & President Xi Jinping begin one-on-one talks in China's Wuhan

Narendra Modi is in China on a two-day informal summit. The PM and his counterpart, President Xi Jinping will be having a series of one-on-one conversations focussing on bilateral, global and regional issues in Wuhan. PM Modi arrived at the central Chinese city early on Friday and was given a grand welcome by President Jinping.

Wuhan where PM Modi is meeting the President was the favourite spot of Mao Zedong.

“The two leaders will review the developments in our bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. But this will be their “heart-to-heart” informal summit. There will be no agreement signed or a joint statement issued, according to reports.

Upon receiving the PM, President Jinping said “I’m very happy to meet PM Modi. Spring is a good time to meet.”

Recalling his first visit to Wuhan, PM Modi told President Jinping during their one-on-one at the museum, “When I was the CM of Gujarat, I had the opportunity to visit Wuhan. I had heard a lot about the Three Gorges Dam. The speed with which you constructed it and the scale inspired me. So I came on a study tour, spent a day at the dam.”

“The culture of both India and China is based along the river banks. If we talk about Mohenjo Daro and Harappa civilisations in India, all the development happened along river banks,” he said, as quoted.

Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the PM for having ‘no agenda’.

Before heading for a cultural programme at Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, the two leaders shook hands and posed for photographs.

The museum is also home to a large number of state-level historic and cultural relics that the PM would get a tour of.

The summit is being seen as an effort by India and China to rebuild trust and improve ties that were hit by the 73-day-long Dokalam standoff last year.

The one-to-one discussions will be followed by talks between the two leaders accompanied by six top officials from each side. The two leaders will have one-on-one dinner at a state guest house by the famous East Lake.

They will resume their one-on-one interaction on Saturday at 10 am (local time) with walks by the lake side, boat ride and wind up their talks over lunch, official sources in Wuhan said.

The two leaders began their informal meetings way back in 2014 when Xi was hosted by Modi at the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi in Gujarat. They have met and interacted with each other in about a dozen international meetings since then.

It is a summit, according to the officials, to forge consensus to resolve the issues with follow up actions by officials than announcing any agreements. This is something the leaders of the two countries have never tried so far, they said.

This is fourth visit of PM Modi to China after he came to power in 2014. He is due to visit China again on June 9-10 to take part in the SCO summit to be held at Qingdao city.

China’s state media said the informal Xi-Modi meeting heralds new chapter in Sino-Indian relations, an article in the state-run said. “The Xi-Modi meeting in 2018 following the 2017 Dokalam standoff will without doubt promote mutual trust and reciprocity between the two countries, and will be a cornerstone of a stable long-term relationship between China and India,” the article said.

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