Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left on a three-day visit to China to attend the BRICS Summit which he hoped would support the agenda for a stronger partnership among the member countries, amid strain in Sino-India ties over a host of issues.
On the second leg of his five-day tour, Modi will travel to Myanmar for his first bilateral visit with an aim of charting a roadmap for closer cooperation between the two countries in areas which include security and counter-terrorism.
In a statement yesterday, the Prime Minister said he was looking forward to productive discussions and positive outcomes at the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit in Xiamen city, building upon the results of last year's Goa Summit between him and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The visit comes days after India and China managed to end the 73-day-long Dokalam standoff. From Xiamen, he will travel to Myanmar on August 5 before returning to the country on August 7.
A possible meeting between Modi and Chinese leader Xi on the margins of the Summit will be a major focus at a time when ties between the two major powers have nosedived over a number of issues including the Dokalam stand-off.
"I look forward to building upon the results and outcomes of the Goa Summit. I also look forward to productive discussions and positive outcomes that will support the agenda of a stronger BRICS partnership under the chairmanship of China," the PM said in a statement.
The Summit meeting will take place tomorrow. The Prime Minister said he will have the opportunity to meet leaders bilaterally on the sidelines of the BRICS meet.
Replying to a specific question, the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday did not rule out a possible meeting between Modi and Chinese President on the margins of the Summit, saying it is a common practice to arrange bilateral meetings on the sidelines of such multilaterals.
India had hosted the previous BRICS Summit in Goa last year.
"India attaches high importance to the role of BRICS that has begun a second decade of its partnership for progress and peace. BRICS has important contributions to make in addressing global challenges and upholding world peace and security," Modi said.
The Prime Minister said he was looking forward to engaging with leaders of nine other countries, including BRICS partners, in an Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue, being hosted by Xi on September 5.
"We will also interact with the BRICS Business Council represented by captains of industry from all the five countries," he said.
About his first bilateral visit to Myanmar, Modi said both countries will look at strengthening existing cooperation in areas of security and counter-terrorism, trade and investment, infrastructure and energy, and culture.
He hoped his visit will help in charting a roadmap for closer cooperation between the two countries.
The Prime Minister said both countries will review developments in bilateral ties with a focus on "extensive" programme of development cooperation and socio-economic assistance India is undertaking in Myanmar. Both sides will also explore new areas of cooperation, the statement said.
Modi said he was looking forward to paying a visit to the famed heritage city of Bagan, where the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has done a "stellar work" in renovating the Ananda Temple.
The ASI will be undertaking further restoration work on a number of pagodas and murals that were damaged in an earthquake last year, he said.
Modi had visited Myanmar in 2014 to attend the ASEAN-India Summit.
The Prime Minister will meet President U Htin Kyaw and hold talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. The Myanmarese President and Suu Kyi had visited India last year.