Picking up from Wuhan where they met in April last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Day 1 of their second informal summit, Friday said that “radicalisation was a matter of concern” to both countries and they would work together to see that radicalisation and terror do not affect the fabric of the multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies in their countries.
Disclosing what transpired at the 150-minute one-on-one discussion between the two leaders in the seaside town of Mahabalipuram near Chennai, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said both leaders felt that radicalisation and terror was a “common challenge” for both countries which are “diverse” and “complex”.
While sources did not rule out the possibility of J&K having been discussed, the indications are that the Chinese were referring to the radicalisation among Uighurs in Xinjiang province.
“Both leaders said they were large countries, and that radicalisation was a matter of concern to both. And that both would work together . The two leaders also discussed issues pertaining to the trade deficit and how to enhance the trade volume, and tried to identify areas of investments,” Gokhale said.
He said the two leaders talked about their respective “national vision” and “governance priorities”. Modi told Xi that having been recently elected for a second term, he had received a renewed mandate for economic development. To this, Xi said that he was looking forward to working very closely with the Prime Minister on all issues during the next four-and-half-years.
The two leaders sat on a separate round table at the dinner tent near the Shore temple. Modi, who was dressed in traditional Tamil attire, and Xi in an informal white shirt and black trousers, spent “quality time”, sipping coconut water.
Read in Tamil here
The Prime Minister gave a guided tour of the seventh century majestic monuments built by the Pallava Dynasty in the seventh century – which are a UNESCO heritage site.
Xi, according to Gokhale, said that he was “overwhelmed” by the hospitality while the PM spoke of the trade links between southern India and China’s Fujian Province. Incidentally, Xi was Governor of Fujian province.
At Arjuna’s Penance, one of the monuments where they spent time, Modi was said to have explained the underlying philosophical meaning that “man and nature live in harmony with each other”, and that this particular monument was a reflection of that.
Referring to the monuments, he also said that India, like China, is also a civilization with a long history.
At the Shore temple, the two leaders were joined in by the Indian delegation comprising NSA Ajit Doval, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar among others, while the Chinese delegation included Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, Politburo member Ding Xuexiang and senior leader He Lifeng.
The two leaders will meet again Saturday at the Tango Hall in Taj Fisherman’s Cove, which will be followed by delegation-level talks.
After the discussions, Modi tweeted, “Mamallapuram is one of the most beautiful places in India, full of vibrancy. It is linked to commerce, spirituality and is now a popular tourism centre. I am delighted that President Xi Jinping and I are spending time in this scenic place, which is also a @UNESCO heritage site.”
“Arjuna’s Penance is one of the grandest places to see in Mamallapuram. It brings to life aspects of the Mahabharata. Arjuna’s Penance also showcases the best of Pallava Art, especially the depiction of nature and animals.”
Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Concluding a highly productive day with a pleasant conversation over a long dinner. PM @narendramodi & Chinese President Xi continued their exchange of views on deepening of the India-China partnership over a breathtaking Kalakshetra cultural performance followed by dinner.”