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Must Wait to See Whether Xi-Modi Meet Will Provide the Necessary Geopolitical Comfort, Says Former Ambassador to China

Former ambassador to China Ashok Kantha said that this meeting was definitely the first formidable step taken by both sides after the two leaders met in Xiamen last year.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:April 26, 2018, 11:03 AM IST
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Must Wait to See Whether Xi-Modi Meet Will Provide the Necessary Geopolitical Comfort, Says Former Ambassador to China
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. (Network18 Creatives)
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to visit China from April 27-28 for an informal meeting with President Xi Jinping. The visit comes barely a month before the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Security Summit for which Modi was already scheduled to go.

Former ambassador to China Ashok Kantha said that this meeting was definitely the first formidable step taken by both sides after the two leaders met in Xiamen last year.

Speaking to News18, Kantha said the path to course correction has been in the works for some time. “There has been conscious efforts from both sides to lower the temperature and both sides have by and large avoided bringing in articulated statements on tensions in public,” Kantha said.

He also added that there was distrust between the two nations regarding each others’ strategic intentions. “This informal meeting will definitely try to provide geopolitical comfort. Whether or not that is achieved is a different story, but sincere efforts will be made,” he said.

Reviewing everything that will be on the table for the leaders to consider, Kantha said the meeting will mostly focus on managing differences across the spectrum.

India and China have been on the opposite sides of the table on many things, including Xi’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and border disputes among other issues. “The world around has changed and the focus has to be on more dialogue,” the former ambassador said.

Another former member of the National Security Advisory Board said that it was important for Modi to play his diplomatic card well considering the 2019 elections. “Also, with United States of America picking up its own fight with China, India is sort of on the back foot. The government thought that the US would help in tackling China but that has not happened. So, we need another plan,” the expert said, on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold an informal summit in China's Wuhan city from April 27 to 28 to exchange views on bilateral and international matters and to enhance mutual communication between the two leaders, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi announced on Sunday.

PM Modi will be visiting the central Chinese city at the invitation of President Xi, Wang said at a joint media event with Swaraj after their talks.

"The two leaders will have communications of a strategic nature concerning the once-in-a-century shifts going on in the world. They will also exchange views on overarching long-term and strategic matters concerning the future of China-India relations," Wang said.
"The informal summit will be an important occasion for them to exchange views on bilateral and international matters from an over-arching and long-term perspective with the objective of enhancing mutual communication at the level of leaders," Swaraj said.

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