The Kashmir issue may come up during the one-on-one talks, apart from various bilateral, regional with global issues.
Mamallapuram: Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday evening had a glimpse of the magnificent 7th century AD Pallava dynasty architecture at the picturesque seaside resort of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) near Chennai, with the two leaders clasping each other’s hands and raised it in a show of solidarity. Sending a strong message even domestically, Mr Modi was dressed in traditional Tamil attire — that included a “veshti” (dhoti worn the South Indian way) and an “angavastram” (a South Indian garment draped over the shoulder) — walking alongside the Chinese President, who was clad in a white shirt with black trousers, and explaining the significance of the monuments to him. President Xi gazed in awe as he faced the “Arjuna’s Penance” sculptures, the “Pancha Rathas” (five rock-cut temple chariots) and the “Krishna’s butterball” (a giant rock perched precariously on a hillock for centuries). The two leaders were later seated for about 15 minutes with the historical setting as a backdrop as they conversed through interpreters and sipped coconut during what was the first day of the two-day second informal summit here. President Xi was then taken to the ancient Shore Temple on the coast, after which the two leaders walked around it in a “parikrama”, as Mr Modi explained the significance of the splendid architecture to his distinguished Chinese guest. The Chinese President was then treated to a magnificent classical music and dance performance of Bharatanatyam and Kath-akali by a troupe from the famed Kalakshetra art and cultural academy in the backdrop of the temple, which was lit up. Mr Modi later gave a traditional Thanjavur painting of “Dancing Saraswati” — the Hindu goddess of learning — and a traditional Tamil “Nachiarkoil” lamp to President Xi as a gift.
In the afternoon earlier, the Chinese President landed at Chennai airport shortly after 2 pm and was welcomed with two separate contingents of folk dancers clad in red and green, after which a group of Bharatanatyam dancers regaled him on the tarmac with a brief performance. President Xi waved to the folk and classical dancers. The Chinese President was received at the airport by Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit, chief minister Edapaddi K. Palaniswami and deputy CM O. Panneerselvam.
Earlier, President Xi reached Mamallapuram at about 5 pm from Chennai by road and was then taken for a tour of the monuments for the next hour before the dance performance. The two leaders settled down for a one-to-one dinner at about 7 pm, with South Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies served. President Xi then left for a night’s rest back to his hotel in Chennai.
The two leaders will have a one-on-one meeting on Saturday morning at the Taj Fisherman’s Cove resort near Mamallapuram for about 50 minutes, followed by delegation-level talks for another hour that will involve select high-ranking ministers and officials. The Kashmir issue may come up during the one-on-one talks, apart from various bilateral, regional with global issues. At the delegation-level talks, bilateral issues like trade and the border dispute are expected to figure, as is usually the case.