China diary: This is what PM Modi gifted Xi Jinping

Informal Sino-Indian summit: Xu Beihong’s paintings were presented during their informal summit. Xu was known for his Chinese ink paintings of horses and birds.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Updated: April 28, 2018 1:05:17 pm
Informal Sino-Indian summit: This is what PM Modi gifted president Jinping Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Centre) visit an exhibition at Hubei Provincial museum in Wuhan, China. (Source: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted Chinese President Xi Jinping the paintings of a Chinese artist who taught at Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal. Xu Beihong’s paintings were presented during their informal summit. Xu was known for his Chinese ink paintings of horses and birds. He was one of the first Chinese artists to articulate the need for artistic expression that reflected a modern China at the beginning of the 20th century. The paintings, depicting a horse and sparrows on grass, were made during Xu’s stay at Visva-Bharati, officials said. They were specially ordered by the ICCR for the summit. Xu met luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi during his stay in India.

Read | Informal Sino-Indian summit: Xi Jinping, PM Modi start talks — Vast space, hope to take ties to a new level

Walk Back In Time

Modi and Xi toured the Hubei provincial museum, and saw some of the remnants from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng dated sometime after 433 BC. The tomb contained the remains of Marquis Yi of Zeng (sometimes “Duke Yi”), and is one of a handful of ancient Chinese royal tombs to have been discovered intact. It was excavated using modern archaeological methods. Zeng was a minor state subordinate to its powerful neighbour, Chu. The tomb comes from the end of the thousand-year period of the burial of large sets of Chinese ritual bronzes in elite tombs. Xi played guide to Modi as they toured the museum.

Revisiting 3 Gorges

Modi had earlier visited the Three Gorges Dam when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

He recalled his visit to the Hubei province as he met Xi Jinping in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei. He also expressed his admiration for the building of the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW).

Xi had gone to inspect the Three Gorges Dam and met the villagers and officials there, which were splashed across Chinese newspapers as Modi landed in Wuhan.

Two Translaters

The Indian side used two interpreters to translate the meetings between Modi and Xi. While Madhusudan — the first secretary (political) in the Indian embassy in Beijing — has been translating for most of the PM’s meetings with Xi over the last three years or so, he had help from his predecessor — Shilpak Ambule — who has been first secretary (political) at the Indian embassy earlier and used to translate during Manmohan Singh’s meetings with Chinese leaders, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.

Two officials were pressed into service as the Indian side did not want one person to be burdened with hours of interpretation.

New Code

From INCH towards MILES to STRENGTH, Modi has coined another acronym. Last time, he coined the term during Xi’s visit in September 2014, it meant “India-China towards Millennium of Exceptional Synergy”. In order to refer to the future of India-China relations, he has codified it with a different acronym.

Strength was spelt by Modi as S-Spirituality; T-Tradition, Trade & Technology; R-Relationship; E-Entertainment (movies, art, etc.); N-Nature conservation; G-Games; T-Tourism & H-Health & Healing.

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