External Affairs

Modi in Xi’an, Talks to Xi About Trust, Trade

Prime Minister Modi President XI share a private moment at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an [Credit: MEA]

Prime Minister Modi President XI share a private moment at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an [Credit: MEA]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping today held summit-level talks in Xi’an on Thursday — their second such interaction in around nine months — and discussed ways to strengthen “trust” and maintain peace on border between the two countries, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told reporters.

He said the two leaders discussed the boundary issue, including peace and tranquility, besides trans-border rivers.

Jaishankar described the atmospherics as “very comfortable”. “So, in a sense it was building on the chemistry between the two of them which started last September.”

Although India had issued a demarche to China both in New Delhi and Beijing before the summit on the question of Chinese involvement in infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Jaishankar did not say whether this issue was raised by Modi and what Xi’s response was.

On the economic front, Modi and Xi discussed the issue of trade deficit, which is in favour of China, and ways to address it.
They also talked about the investment climate and challenges of reforms, Jaishankar said. In this context, the Chinese President talked about the “miracle of Gujarat” under Modi and “the fact that he is trying to now do it at the national level.”

The two leaders also discussed the problem of terrorism in the context of today’s attack in Kabul, as also yesterday’s attack in Karachi, the Foreign Secretary said. A need was felt for strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation between India and China, Jaishankar said. Modi pressed the need for early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), which is pending before the UN for long.

The Prime Minister and the Chinese President also discussed the issue of connectivity and finding ways for the two countries to work together.

The devastation caused in Nepal by earthquake recently also came up, with Modi and Xi discussing how India and China responded to the situation. The reform of UN Security Council and India’s bid for NSG membership also were discussed.

The choice of Xi’an as Modi’s first stop is Xi’s way of reciprocating the Indian Prime Minister’s gesture of welcoming him in Ahmedabad last November.

Speaking in Hindi, Modi appreciated the Chinese leader for warmly receiving him outside Beijing, a break from official protocol that is highly unusual in China. “This is an honour to 125 crore Indians whom I am representing as Prime Minister.” “You received me very warmly in your hometown. I am very glad to receive you in my hometown,” the Chinese president said in response.

 

Modi’s three-day visit to China will take him to Beijing and Shanghai after Xi’an, where he arrived Thursday morning. In Beijing, he will hold formal talks with his counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang, while the Shanghai visit’s focus will be on business.

Before departing for China, Modi had expressed confidence that his trip would deepen mutual trust, work out a roadmap for upgrading bilateral economic ties and set a “new milestone” for Asia and developing nations.

The Prime Minister is being accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other senior officials.