Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. The two leaders will hold talks in the 7th century Shore Temple complex overlooking the Bay of Bengal in the ancient town of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu. This will be Jinping's second informal meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The first informal summit between Modi and Xi took place in picturesque Chinese lake city Wuhan in April 2018, months after a 73-day-long face-off between the armies of the two countries in Doklam tri-junction in Sikkim. President Xi's visit holds relevance as this is the first time the two leaders will sit together ever since India axed Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Modi and Xi will tour the temples of Mahabalipuram, will hold informal and delegation-level talks and will sit for lunch and dinner meetings.
- According to officials, Chinese President Xi will arrive at the Chennai airport at around 2 PM and will then head off to a luxury hotel.
- At 5 PM, Modi will take Xi to three iconic monuments of Mamallapuram -- Arjuna's Penance, Panch Rathas and the Shore temple. The two leaders will then witness a cultural programme at the temple complex.
- PM Modi and Xi will sit together in the lawns of the Shore temple and exchange views on charting a new roadmap of development and cooperation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will then host a private dinner for Xi at the temple complex.
- On Saturday, the two leaders will have a one-on-one meeting at the Fisherman's Cove resort which will be followed by delegation-level talks. After the talks, Modi will host a lunch for Xi.
- Ahead of the two-day summit, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said that a "new set of consensus" including "guiding principles" on giving a new direction to the bilateral ties are expected from engagement.
- Government sources also said there was no question of any discussion on Kashmir issue as it is India's sovereign matter but added that Modi will update the Chinese President on the matter if there is a query.
- Both leaders are likely to explore ways of expanding trade and business ties. India is expected to raise the issue of ballooning trade deficit in China's favour, the sources said.
- Political relations, trade and ways to maintain peace and tranquillity along nearly 3,500-km-long Sino-India border will be major focus areas in the talks, they said.
- Sources said terrorism, including training, financing and any other support to terror groups, will be one of the key issues to be discussed. Others will be trade, defence and border issues. Sources say both sides are also looking at possible confidence-building measures for the India-China border, which may be announced later.
- Chinese vice-foreign minister Luo Zhaohui was quoted as saying by the Chinese media that President Xi will have in-depth communication with PM Modi on issues that have overall, long-term and strategic significance on bilateral relations, set the tune and guide the direction for the future development of the ties.
Meanwhile, all the monuments in Mamallapuram to be visited by Xi were spruced up while colourful gates have been erected along the routes from Chennai to this coastal city. A grand ornamental arch to welcome the two leaders has been prominently put up at the entrance to Mamallapuram from the East Coast Road.
Traditional arches made of banana trees and sugarcane have been put up in front of the hotel where Xi will stay.
An unprecedented security cover has been thrown in and around Mamallapuram which has inconvenienced people in the town as well as tourists.
On Article 370, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India's consistent and clear position has been that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and China is well aware of New Delhi's position.