Modi, Xi arrive in golf cart, and stroll some more

Sunday, 13 Oct, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Mamallapuram right now for an informal summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping, released a video of his morning walk ritual on his Twitter profile, only that the prime minister could be seen cleaning the beach alongside.

The two leaders are slated to meet for three hours on Saturday, on the second and concluding leg of the summit. Wuhan spirit has given our ties a new momentum and trust.

In his opening remarks, Xi said he had a free and frank discussion with Modi and would pursue proposals the two leaders discussed to improve bilateral ties. President Xi has assured that India's concerns over Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be discussed, he said.

The August 5 revocation means that India's Jammu and Kashmir will be largely run by the central government as territorial autonomy has largely vanished.

India has moved closer to the United States and its allies in seeking a counter-weight to China's growing military shadow in the Asia-Pacific region.

It has been infuriated by China's backing for Pakistan, which controls a large chunk of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Modi and Xi were meeting at a time of tensions over Beijing's support for Pakistan, India's archrival, in opposing New Delhi's downgrading of Kashmir's semi-autonomy and continuing restrictions in the disputed region. They also reiterated that both sides will prudently manage their differences without allowing differences on any issue to become disputes.

Belying the recent acrimony over the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Modi and the Chinese President held a two-and-half-hour "open and cordial" one-on-one discussion over dinner.

The two countries should make a success of next year's celebration of the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations and the activities marking the China-India year of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, he said. He also mooted China-India Plus formula for the two countries to forge ties with nations in the neighbourhood as well as Africa.

Modern rivalry between India and China - which each have populations of more than 1.3 billion people - dates back decades. India can use the China challenge to step on the gas to reform its economy and unshackle enterprise and agriculture, which will have the added advantage of giving it more elbow room as global politics readjusts to a new reality.

China hopes itself will develop well and wishes India the same, said the president, adding that the two countries should help each other to accomplish their respective goals and "brighten up" each other.

"The first informal summit between India and China a year ago in Wuhan led to fresh stability in our relations and gave a fresh momentum".

However, with economic progress being made between Beijing and New Delhi, it appears Modi is warming to the idea of integration with China, and that's only possible if the threat of sanctions from Xi is quashed. Xi also called for strengthening coordination within the framework of the G20, BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Russia-India-China (RIC) and other multilateral mechanisms. China is pressing for a greater share of Nepal's infrastructure projects. Gokhale indicated China is interested in strengthening bilateral defense cooperation, and extended an invitation to Defense Minister Rajnath Singh to visit China.