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Modi, Xi Jinping to Meet in Chennai on Oct 11-12 for 2nd Informal Summit; Border Talks, Trade on Cards

PM Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their ‘informal’ April meeting in Wuhan. (PTI)

PM Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their ‘informal’ April meeting in Wuhan. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Chennai on October 11 and 12 for the second informal summit after the two leaders met in Wuhan for a similar exchange.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Chennai on October 11 and 12 for the second informal summit after the two leaders met in Wuhan for a similar exchange.

The government in a statement on Wednesday said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had their inaugural Informal Summit in Wuhan, China, on April 27-28, 2018. The Chennai Informal Summit will provide them an opportunity to continue discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues and exchange views on deepening India-China partnership.”

The Wuhan summit was described as a unique format where Modi and Xi engaged in an informal set-up — from a lakeside walk along the East Lake in Wuhan to enjoying a traditional Chinese tea ceremony as well as a boat ride and a lunch hosted by Xi for the Prime Minister. This was apart from a 40-minute one-on-one and a curtailed delegation-level meeting to rebuild mutual trust and understanding after the Doklam stand-off.

Government sources aware of the developments rubbished the "needless speculation" on the delay in announcing the meet, saying the announcement was done in coordination with the Chinese side.

They added that no documents would be signed nor a joint communique issued as the talks were informal and unstructured. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and NSA will also accompany Xi and thus there may be meetings scheduled with their counterparts S Jaishankar and Ajit Doval.

"Security aspects will be discussed by Modi and Xi with peace and tranquility at the border in focus. Terrorism and trade will also come up in talks," sources added.

The meet also comes in the backdrop of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan — often referred to as China’s all-weather ally — on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of words since the Narendra Modi government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and decided to divide the state into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh.

China earlier said the "dispute" should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter and stressed that no actions should be taken that would unilaterally change the "status quo".

"The Kashmir issue, a dispute left from the past, should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement," State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi had said in his address to the UN General Assembly.

However, ahead of Xi’s visit, China said the issue of Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan as it significantly omitted its recent references to the UN and UN Security Council resolutions.

"We call on India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and consultation on all issues including Kashmir issue and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with interest of both countries and common aspiration of the world," he said.

On the issue of Article 370, the sources said: "Our position is clear; the matter is a sovereign decision. There will be no discussion from our side but if President Xi wants a better understanding, then it can be taken up."

Talking about the creation of Ladakh asa UT, they said: "The logic behind the move has been explained by the government. It was a demand from local public. We claim a certain boundary that is our perception. China has its own perception with respect to LAC. Neither's perception has changed despite formation of UT that will be effective from October 31."