China trip begins; PM Modi hosted at Xi’s hometown

SansadTV Bureau

PM_ChinadancePrime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have got their plates full. On the opening day of the three-day visit to China, PM Modi and President Xi held discussions on the ways forward and essentially a road-map to build trust. The two nations which share an ambiguous equation on issue of international boundary are looking at this meet with great enthusiasm.

“On the political side, there was a lot of discussion on strengthening trust and increasing convergence,” said Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar as he addressed the large press contingent on the 90-minute delegation-level talks. The Foreign Secretary, however, didn’t field any questions in the presser.

The two leaders held summit talks in the ancient city of Xian, hometown of China’s President Xi. The Prime Minister received a warm welcome in the city, the first of its kind as summit level talks has never been held outside the capital city Beijing before. This is seen as reciprocation on the part of China as the Modi-led government had hosted the Chinese contingent in Prime Minister’s hometown Ahmedabad when the President Xi had visited India last year September. The two leaders began their summit level talks with the handshakes at Shaanxi Guest House.

“This is an honour to 125 crore Indians whom I am representing as Prime Minister,” PM Narendra Modi said in his opening remarks as he received the welcome. He was particularly impressed with the home-town bonhomie reciprocated by the host.

“You received me very warmly in your hometown. I am very glad to receive you in my hometown,” PM Modi added in his opening remarks before the press.

Both the leaders held substantive talks covering host of issues ranging from political, economic and the global issues like terrorism, UNSC reforms and India’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Addressing the press, S Jaishankar told that the “two leaders discussed the boundary issue, including peace and tranquillity, besides trans-border rivers”.

Among the issues, the boundary dispute has been a bone of contention between the two sides. The visit has seemingly generated lot of enthusiasm to address the sticky issue of international boundary dispute. The possibility of any solution, however, may have to wait. Already a controversy has been generated with the Chinese government run press taking a critical view of the India’s stand on the boundary dispute. So far there have been 18 rounds of discussions alone which have been held to look for the settlement on the issue through the Special Representatives’ talks.

While, the Chinese side claims of the border dispute regarding 2,000 km mostly in Arunachal Pradesh in the north-east, India has time and again asserted the dispute covering a larger of the western side border running roughly 4,000 km. For India, the area under dispute has been that of Aksai Chin in the greater Jammu and Kashmir region, which was ceded to China by Pakistan.

On his first day, PM Narendra Modi also paid a visit to Terracotta warriors museum, followed with Daxingshan Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China.

This is the third time the two leaders have met ever since PM Modi-led BJP government has come to the power. The visible warmth of the visits too have been emphasised by the Union government.

“The atmosphere was very comfortable. So, in the sense it was building on the chemistry between the two of them which started last September,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said.

The summit level talks will be followed by the banquet hosted in the honour of PM Modi by President Xi tonight. After that Prime Minister will take a flight to Beijing, where he will hold formal talks with Chinese PM Li Keqiang and other leaders on Friday.

Another important focus of this visit will be trade and economic interest as India and China are expected to sign 20 business deals worth about 10 billion Dollars. The PM is also slated to meet Indian and Chinese CEOs and address the industry in Shanghai on Saturday.

(With inputs from the Agencies)