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PM Modi meets Chinese President Xi Jinping for unprecedented ‘informal’ summit

WUHAN: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday met for an informal summit in central China’s Wuhan city. During their summit, the two leaders are expected to work out a consensus between the two countries to resolve a host of issues, including the boundary question. However, no agreement is likely to be signed during the informal talks.

Recalling his earlier visit to China, PM Modi told President Xi Jinping: “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 two leaders are expected to hold a series of one-on-one talks after lunch at the Hubei Provincial Museum which has a large number of state-level historic and cultural relics. Before the meeting, the two leaders attended a cultural programme at the museum.

The PM was received by the Chinese President at the guesthouse. PM Modi had arrived in China in the wee hours of Friday for a two-day visit to participate in an unprecedented ‘informal’ summit to re-establish the Sino-India ties, which took a hit post the two-month-long Doklam standoff.

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 tomorrow at 10 a.M (local time) with walks by the lake side, boat ride and wind up their talks over lunch. 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.

The meeting comes amid efforts made by both India and China to move past the tensions, which rose out of the 73-day Doklam standoff in 2017. The informal talks are likely to be over arching with no specific issues to be discussed. The idea is to open strategic communication channel at the highest level.

Ahead of his visit, the PM tweeted that the priority of the meeting will be national development. “President Xi and I will exchange views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance. We will discuss our respective visions and priorities for national development, particularly in the context of current and future international situation. We will also review the developments in India-China relations from a strategic and long-term perspective,” he tweeted.