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'Heart to Heart' Modi-Xi Dialogue Conceived on Lines of Rajiv Gandhi’s Ice-Breaking 1988 Visit

The Xi-Modi dialogue in the central Chinese city is aimed at working out a new paradigm for relations for the next 15 years

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Updated:April 22, 2018, 7:30 PM IST
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'Heart to Heart' Modi-Xi Dialogue Conceived on Lines of Rajiv Gandhi’s Ice-Breaking 1988 Visit
File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi waving at crowds at the Dacien Buddhist Temple in Xian, Shaanxi province, China. (Photo: Reuters)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a heart-to-heart chat to explore ways to address contentious issues holding back bilateral ties when they meet in Wuhan city during an informal summit from April 27 to 28.

The Xi-Modi dialogue in the central Chinese city is aimed at working out a new paradigm for relations for the next 15 years, PTI reported. It has been conceived on the lines of the ice-breaking visit undertaken by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, when he held far-reaching talks with China's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and set a new tone for the relations after the 1962 war.

The two leaders plan to spend several hours exchanging their vision and perspectives about global and domestic scenarios and explore ideas to address the contentious bilateral issues like the border dispute. Modi and Xi will try to work out a general framework for relations to move ahead without much of great expectations about the outcome, they said.

While no major agreements were expected to be reached at the summit, the two leaders will have candid talks on the contentious issues like Xi's pet project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) whose flagship project, the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become a major stumbling block for the bilateral ties.

India protested about CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) disregarding India's sovereignty concerns.

Last year had turned out to be an extremely complex and difficult year for Sino-Indian ties with a host of festering differences headlined by the 73-day Doklam standoff. Other issues like China blocking India's entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and its attempts to list Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN had also hit ties.

The Wuhan summit is aimed at giving an "honest try" by the two leaders to work out an understanding to navigate through the maze of differences and build strategic trust, they said.

It will be the fourth visit by Modi to China since he took over power in 2014 and a second bilateral visit. He made first bilateral visit in 2015 followed by a visit to Hangzhou to take part in the G-20 summit in 2016 and BRICS summit in Xiamen last year.

He is again due to visit Chinese city of Qingdao in June this year to take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. The two leaders decided to meet ahead of SCO meet as the summit of the eight-member group will offer little time and space for a lengthy interaction, the sources said.

The Modi-Xi meeting has been worked out by both sides following an understanding between the two governments that positive relations without much of tensions are most important for the development of both the countries.

While China sees India as a country of faster economic growth and safe destination for Chinese investments, and regard good ties with it is important for its peaceful rise, the thinking in India too is that peaceful relations with China is important for the progress of initiatives like the 'Make in India', they said.

The summit is taking place as Xi, now regarded as the most powerful leader of China is poised for a longer tenure in the office after the last month's removal of the two-term limit for President.

The summit provides an opportunity for the 64-year-old Chinese leader to elaborate on the contours of his oft-stated Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, while Modi was expected to highlight the importance of campaigns like the 'Make in India' and his vision of "Vasudeva Kutumbakam", (world as a single family) they said.

The Modi-Xi summit meeting is taking place in the backdrop of a series of high level interactions between both the two countries starting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to India in December, the first after the Dokalam standoff. It was followed by two meetings between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and the visit early this year by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to Beijing.

(With PTI inputs)

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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