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.

EAM @SushmaSwaraj : Prime Minister of India @narendramodi will visit China on 27 & 28 April for an Informal Summit with President of China Xi Jinping in the city of Wuhan.

— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) April 22, 2018

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."

#WATCH "It's certainly a very bold step," says Former Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on upcoming informal meeting between PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping

— ANI (@ANI) April 22, 2018

5. Modi, Xi to have ‘heart-to-heart’ chat: The Modi-Xi meeting has been worked out by both sides following an understanding between the two governments that positive relations without much of tensions are most important for the development of both the countries.

While China sees India as a country of faster economic growth and safe destination for Chinese investments, and regard good ties with it is important for its peaceful rise, the thinking in India too is that peaceful relations with China is important for the progress of initiatives like the 'Make in India', sources told PTI.

At their summit, the two leaders were expected to have a "heart-to-heart" chat and look at the big picture of the bilateral ties, they said.

6. ‘Honest try’ by Modi, Xi: The Wuhan summit is aimed at giving an "honest try" by the two leaders to work out an understanding at the top on the future course of relations to navigate through the maze of differences and build strategic trust and communication between themselves, sources told PTI.

The summit provides an opportunity for the 64-year-old Chinese leader to elaborate on the contours of his oft-stated Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, while Modi was expected to highlight the importance of campaigns like the 'Make in India' and his vision of "Vasudeva Kutumbakam", (world as a single family) they said.

7. China agrees to share data on Brahmaputra, Sutlej riversChina has agreed to resume sharing of hydrological data of the Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Beijing on Sunday, months after Beijing stopped the practice following the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Dokalam. The sharing of hydrological data is crucial to predict floods in India's northeast region, prone to natural calamities.

I conveyed our appreciation to the Chinese side for their confirmation on the resumption of data sharing on Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers in 2018 as this issue has direct relevance for people living in those areas," Swaraj said at a joint media event with Wang after their talks, according to PTI.

Under the existing bilateral Memorandums of Understanding, China provides to India hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river (Yarlong Zangbo) and the Sutlej river (Langqen Zangbo) during the flood seasons.

8. Briefing of previous India-China talks: The Modi-Xi summit meeting is taking place in the backdrop of series of high-level interactions between both the two countries starting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang's visit to India in December, the first after Dokalam standoff.

It was followed by two meetings between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and the visit early this year by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to Beijing.

The two countries also held 11th Joint Economic Group meeting and the fifth Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) here recently.

Besides meetings between officials from the two foreign ministries on both sides held working mechanism meeting on border affairs and cross-border rivers as well disarmament and non-proliferation dialogue in which India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was discussed and culminated in today's talks between Swaraj and Wang.

9. Xi received an important call from Modi: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the bilateral ties have witnessed a good development and shown a positive momentum this year under the guidance of the leaders of the two nations. "On the eve of the closing of China's National People's Congress this year, President Xi Jinping received a very important phone call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Wang said, according to PTI.

He said the call spurred a positive momentum in the dialogue process between the two countries.

"Our two leaders had in-depth exchange of views and reached important consensus on furthering the China-India relationship. India's membership to the SCO has expanded the orgainsation's potential and its influence, as well as providing a new platform for the India-China cooperation and I believe that India will make a positive and energetic contribution to the organisation," Wang said, added PTI.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, left, shakes hands with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi prior to a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing

10. Sushma Swaraj in China: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and discussed a host of bilateral issues and ways to step up the pace of high-level interactions to improve the relationship.

External Affairs Minister #SushmaSwaraj said "We (India-China) agreed to work together on issues like #terrorism, #climatechange, sustainable development, global healthcare etc."

Read @ANI story |

— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) April 22, 2018

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. 
With Agency inputs

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