What to expect from Modi-XI meet

Chennai: Several issues are expected to be discussed during the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China President Xi Jinping in Mamallapuram near here. However, it is said that no Memorandum of Understanding will be signed and no joint statements will be issued during the meeting.

Sources said the main purpose of the meeting is to build contacts at the highest level and exchange views on key issues.

Sources said terrorism, including training, financing and any other support to terror groups, will be one of the key issues to be discussed. Others will be trade, defence and border issues.

Sources say both sides are also looking at possible confidence-building measures for the India-China border, which may be announced later.

The informal summit is taking place amid renewed strain in ties between India and China over the Kashmir issue.

A joint statement issued after talks between President Xi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said China is paying ‘close attention’ to the situation in the Kashmir and that it should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter.

In its reaction, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India’s consistent and clear position has been that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and China is well aware of New Delhi’s position.

Government sources also said there was no question of any discussion on the issue as it is India’s sovereign matter but added that Modi will update the Chinese President on the matter if there is a query.

The summit in the ancient coastal town in southern India is also taking place in the backdrop of China’s growing trade friction with the US.

Both leaders are likely to explore ways of expanding trade and business ties. India is expected to raise the issue of ballooning trade deficit in China’s favour, the sources said.

They added that political relations, trade and ways to maintain peace and tranquility along nearly 3,500-KM-long Sino-India border will be major focus areas in the talks.

The ties between India and China came under some strain after India announced withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union territories. China criticised India’s decision and its Foreign Minister Wang Yi even raised it at the UN General Assembly last month.

The first informal summit between Modi and Xi took place in picturesque Chinese lake city Wuhan in April 2018, months after a 73-day-long face off between the armies of the two countries in Doklam tri-juction in Sikkim sector raised fears of a war between the Asian giants.

NT Bureau