India-China talks focus on ‘national visions’; resolve to boost trade, investment.
Mamallapuram: On day one of the second informal summit bet-ween Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Mamallapuram on Friday, the two leaders resolved to work together to not let terrorism and radicalisation affect the fabric of their “multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious” societies.
The two leaders, who met for a mammoth five hours of one-on-one meetings, that included two-and-a-half hours of conversation over dinner, discussed issues of bilateral concern, including terrorism and radicalisation, as well as trade issues.
The discussions on terrorism are being seen as extremely significant given India’s stand on terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil and China’s concerns over radicalisation in its north-western Xinjiang province. The two leaders are expected to have further one-on-one discussions on Saturday apart from delegation-level talks on the entire gamut of India-China’s bilateral ties.
Briefing reporters, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said the discussions were “cordial” and reflected the “personal rapport” between the two leaders. The Chinese President conveyed that he was “overwhelmed” by the welcome he received at Chennai and Mamallapuram and the excellent arrangements for the informal summit.
While there was no official word on whether the situation in Kashmir was discussed, sources indicated that recent strains in the Sino-Indian relationship following Chinese backing of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue may have figured during the hours-long conversation. Much to the dismay of India, China has been backing Pakistan on the Kashmir issue ever since New Delhi revoked Article 370 and announced bifurcation of J&K state into two Union Territories on August 5.
Mr Gokhale said the discussions focused on the “national visions” and “governance priorities” of the two sides. Trade issues were also discussed along with measures to enhance the trade volume and reduce trade deficit.
While PM Modi conveyed that he had got a renewed mandated from the Indian people in May this year for economic development, the Chinese President said he looked forward to working with PM Modi, Mr Gokhale said.
Another major topic of discussion at the sea-side resort town of Mamallap-uram — an ancient trading port — was the historical link between south India under the ancient Pallava and Chola dynasties with the East coast of China, especially the Fujian province. There were also references in the conversation to excavations in China that indicate that ancient Tamil traders had perhaps built a Hindu temple there in the 12th century.
In the backdrop of the cultural extravaganza at Mamallapuram, the two leaders had an “exchange of views on deepening of the India-China partnership”.
“Concluding a highly productive day with a pleasant conversation over a long dinner, PM @narendramodi & Chinese President Xi continued their exchange of views on deepening of the India-China partnership over a breathtaking Kalakshetra cultural performance followed by dinner,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
“PM @narendramodi & Chinese President Xi continue their conversation against the backdrop of Shore temple, the last of the monuments visited by the two leaders in #Mamallapuram today… PM @narendramodi & Chinese President Xi have a quiet conversation at the ‘five chariots’ at #Mamallapuram,” he had tweeted before that.
New Delhi expects Beijing to be more sensitive to its concerns, especially on the Kashmir issue. But so far China has been completely backing its all-weather friend Pakistan at the UN and other fora on the matter. Earlier this week, in days leading up to the summit, there were fireworks over a reference to Kashmir in a joint Sino-Pakistan statement. New Delhi hit back, pointing out that J&K is an integral part of India and made it clear that Beijing should not interfere in India’s internal affairs.