Modi-Xi ‘heart-to-heart’ meeting starts with a grand welcome

The informal meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping started with a grand cultural welcome for the Indian premier at Hubei Provincial Museum. Xi said that it was a pleasure to meet Modi, while the Indian leader reciprocated the greeting saying he has studied Chinese history closely.

Modi arrived at China’s Wuhan city, at 12:30 a.m. (local time) on April 27. Many Chinese officials were present at Tianhe International Airport to receive Prime Minister Modi.

 

 

What to expect

  • Modi will be Wuhan for 24 hours only. The two leaders will have six meetings in informal settings like a boat ride and walk by the East Lake.
  • Modi will first greet Xi and then get a tour of ancient Chinese artifacts at the Hubei Provincial Museum, followed by what is scheduled to be a 40-minute meeting with Xi and then dinner
  • On April 28, the two are scheduled to take a walk around their guesthouse and then an hour-long boat-trip
  • They will be accompanied by translators for one-on-one conversations
  • They will build trust to tide over differences on the boundary issues, Doklam stand-off, China’s nuclear suppliers group stand and China’s ambiguity on terrorism from Pakistan

Modi and Xi have a lot of ground to cover. Both countries are embroiled in disputes over the 3,500 km border stretch. India’s response to the Belt and Road Infrastructure initiative has not been very positive.

Meanwhile, China is looking for alternatives in the face of import tariffs imposed by the US, as a fallout of China’s $365 billion trade surplus. China is not only India’s largest trading partner (exports exceed $70 billion) but Indian start-ups and coporates also benefit from capital investments by Chinese banks and funds.

Though officials of both countries maintain that it is an informal summit with no agenda, the tone and tenor of the interaction may have political and economic ramifications.

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