Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold 5 meetings on Friday and Saturday.
Chennai/Mahabalipuram: India will not kowtow to China at the second informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 11-12, with Mr Modi expected to clearly tell the Chinese leader that Beijing should be sensitive to Indian concerns on the Kashmir issue. Sources told this newspaper on Thursday that India had repeatedly respected Chinese concerns and had refrained from commenting on the situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, adding it was time for Beijing to reciprocate and return the favour.
With just hours to go for the start of the summit, Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong told a news agency that the two countries pose no threat to each other and greater cooperation between the two Asian giants would inject positive energy in ensuring peace and stability in the region and beyond. The Chinese envoy also said a “new set of consensus”, including “guiding principles” on the development of bilateral ties are expected to emerge from the two-day informal summit starting on Friday.
As a blanket of heavy security has been thrown from Chennai to nearby Mahabalipuram (also known as Mamalla-puram) — the site of the informal summit — the Chinese President will touch down in Chennai on Friday afternoon and will soon proceed to the seaside resort town for the informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and Saturday. Accompanied by Mr Modi, the Chinese President will on Friday evening be given a guided tour of three monuments — the Ancient Shore Temple, the “Arjuna’s Penance” rock sculptures and the “Pancha Rathas”, monuments built by Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries AD. The Chinese President will also see a cultural performance at the Shore Temple, after which Mr Modi will host a dinner in Mr Xi’s honour.
President Xi will then return to Chennai for a night’s rest, only to return the next day (Saturday) for a tête-à-tête with Mr Modi at the Taj Fisherman’s Cove resort near Mahabalipuram. Saturday will be the main day of the informal summit, when the two leaders are expected to have a candid exchange of views and informally discuss the entire gamut of bilateral and other issues that impact their relationship.
Ties between the two Asian giants have been under fresh strain for the past few months. Controversy had further hit on Wednesday evening, just ahead of the summit, with New Delhi making it clear that China had no business commenting on the internal affairs of India and that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. New Delhi was angered over a reference to the Kashmir issue at a meeting between President Xi and visiting Pakistan PM Imran Khan in Beijing on Wednesdasy. Mr Modi is expected to clearly tell Mr Xi that the revoking of Article 370 and the bifurcation of J&K state into two Union territories was an internal matter of India.
Speaking to a news agency, China’s ambassador Sun was quoted as saying: “We believe the summit will take bilateral relations to a higher level and have a major and positive impact on regional and world peace, stability and development. The two countries pose no threat but offer development opportunities to each other. The cooperation between China and India will not only contribute to each other’s development, but advance the process of world multi-polarisation and economic globalisation and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.”
“A new set of consensus is expected, including a shared vision for transformation of the international system, the common responsibility and role of China and India in regional affairs, and guiding principles on the development direction of bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields,” Mr Sun was further quoted as saying.
It may be recalled that in a statement on Wednesday, the external affairs ministry, in response to a query by the media, said: “We have seen the report regarding the meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan which also refers to their discussions on Kashmir. India’s position has been consistent and clear that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India.”
A joint Sino-Pakistan press statement from Beijing on Wednesday had said: “The Pakistan side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, including its concerns, position, and current urgent issues. The Chinese side responded that it was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu & Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”