No more Doklam? Modi's China visit to deal with border dispute: Top updates

File photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands before the group photo session at 2017 BRICS Summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a summit in China's Wuhan city from April 27 to 28 for a "heart-to-heart" chat to explore a new paradigm for India-China ties and find ways to address the contentious issues like the border dispute. Prime Minister Modi will be visiting the central Chinese city at the invitation of President Xi, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a joint media event with visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj after their talks.

Conceived on the lines of the ice-breaking visit undertaken by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988 and his far-reaching talks with China's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, setting a new tone for the relations after the 1962 war. The Xi-Modi dialogue in the central Chinese city of Wuhan is aimed at working out a new paradigm for the bilateral relations for the next 15 years, informed sources told PTI in Beijing.

At the "informal summit" with a few officials and aides at a picturesque location, the two leaders plan to spend several hours exchanging their vision and perspectives about global and domestic scenarios and explore ideas to address the contentious bilateral issues like the border dispute, they said.

The talks will focus on adhering to the principle that both countries should be sensitive to each other's concerns and aspirations, the sources said.

At the summit, Modi and Xi will try to work out a general framework for relations to move ahead without much of great expectations about the outcome, they said.

It is a leadership-driven summit, providing a leadership driven-direction and a way forward to a more stable bilateral ties, the sources said.

"The two leaders will have communications of a strategic nature concerning the once in a century shifts going on in the world. They will also exchange views on overarching long-term and strategic matters concerning the future of China-India relations," Wang said, according to news agency PTI. 

"The informal summit will be an important occasion for them to exchange views on bilateral and international matters from an over-arching and long-term perspective with the objective of enhancing mutual communication at the level of leaders," Sushma Swaraj said, added PTI.

Swaraj is in China for talks with Wang and to take part in the two-day meeting of Foreign Ministers of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) from Monday.

It will be the fourth visit by Modi to China since he took over power in 2014 and a second bilateral visit. He made first bilateral visit in 2015 followed by a visit to Hangzhou to take part in the G-20 summit in 2016 and BRICS summit in Xiamen last year. He is again due to visit Chinese city of Qingdao in June this year to take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

The summit is taking place as Xi, now regarded as the most powerful leader of China is poised for a longer tenure in the office after the last month's removal of the two-term limit for President.

Here are the top 10 developments on PM Modi’s upcoming visit to China: 

1. PM Modi to visit China on April 27Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold an informal summit in China's Wuhan city from April 27 to 28 to exchange views on bilateral and international matters and to enhance mutual communication between the two leaders, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced in Beijing on Sunday. 

This was stated by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj after their bilateral talks in Beijing.

This will be the first meeting between Modi and Xi after the BRICS Summit at Xianmen and will come ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting at Qingdao in June.

2. The informal summit between Xi and Modi: Modi's trip to the Chinese city of Wuhan will mark a new start in bilateral relationship which was seriously strained by a 73-day military standoff between the two armies last year, said Swaraj and Wang Yi, according to IANS. 

ALSO READ: India says maintaining peace in border areas essential pre-requisite for smooth development of ties with China

Informed sources told PTI that it will be an informal summit meeting between Xi and Modi during which both leaders will try to work out a new paradigm for the bilateral ties bogged down with a host of disputes and differences.

Modi is again due to visit China to take part in the SCO summit to be held at Qingdao city on June 9-10. The two leaders decided to meet ahead of SCO meet as the summit of the eight-member group will offer little time and space for a lengthy interaction, sources told PTI.

3. CPEC on agenda: While no major agreements were expected to be reached at the summit, the two leaders will have candid talks on the contentious issues like Xi's pet project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) whose flagship project, the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become a major stumbling block for the bilateral ties.

India protested about CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) disregarding India's sovereignty concerns.

4. Former foreign secretary terms Modi-Xi meet as bold move: "It's certainly a very bold step. The fact that they have agreed on an informal summit shows that the two leaders realise the importance of this relationship," says former foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar onthe upcoming informal meeting between Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to ANI.

When asked about issues to be taken up on the meeting, Jaishankar said: "Purpose of the informal summit is leaders decide what they want to discuss. Don't think anybody should predict what they'll discuss.Fact that the two leaders are meeting should answer the question."

He further added: "Indians should see it as very sincere effort on part of both countries and leaders to improve their relationship. It's in our national interest that it succeeds.People should look at how to create the best environment for meeting."

Swaraj arrived in Beijing on Saturday on a four-day two-nation visit to China and Mongolia will take part in the foreign ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), where India became a full member in 2017. She was received by Wang at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing ahead of their bilateral meeting.

This was their first meeting after Wang was elevated as state councillor last month which makes him the top diplomat of the country in the Chinese hierarchy. He also continues to be the foreign minister.

Swaraj congratulates Wang, Xi: Sushma Swaraj congratulated Wang for being appointed as State Councillor and China's special representative on the border issue with India.

"I am delighted to be in Beijing and very happy to meet you again. I also congratulate you for being promoted as China's State Councillor and re-appointment as Foreign Minister,” said Sushma Swaraj, according to IANS. 

"I am also happy for you being appointed as China's Special Representative on border talks with India.This shows the leadership has a strong faith in your abilities. And I think with the new responsibilities, you will contribute more to India-China ties,” Swaraj added.

Swaraj also congratulated Xi Jinping for being re-elected as China's President. "In the new tenure (of Xi), we will work with the Chinese leadership and take the India-China relationship to a new high," she said, according to IANS. 

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