Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who both arrived in New Delhi late on Wednesday, must ensure that the bonhomie between the two leaders can be translated to the bilateral ties.
The reasons for Mr. Modi going the extra mile would seem obvious. China and Japan were two countries that received him when other countries wouldn’t, and gave the then Gujarat Chief Minister a welcome reserved for a head of state, especially in China in 2011, where his car drove right off the Beijing airport tarmac and he was received at the Great Hall of People in Beijing.
Officials confirm that many agreements will be signed in the presence of the two leaders on Thursday dealing with tourism and student exchanges, cultural MoUs between several institutions, including the National Museum, railway infrastructure, banks, and technology assistance on irrigation.
The reported standoff between the armed forces at Demchok and Chumar sectors will however, cast a shadow on their talks over border resolution along with the unconcluded agreement on visas. The governments haven’t yet appointed Special Representatives (SRs) to take forward the border resolution talks that have already seen 17 rounds. The bulk of the expectations from Mr. Xi’s visit, however, will come from business transacted and investments announced for projects that are still being pegged at a total of $100 billion, although officials say the investment will be staggered over several years and will be considerably lower than the target.
China’s decision to build industrial cities in Gujarat and Maharashtra at an initial investment of $10 billion is a step towards addressing the ballooning trade deficit India has of about $35 billion, so that Chinese manufacturers can come “make in India,” as Mr. Modi has termed it.
In an article for The Hindu , Mr. Xi also expressed the hope that “the world’s factory” [China] and the “world’s back office” [India], will drive the Asian economy together.
Mr. Xi will also look for Indian support for his vision of a Maritime Silk Road as well as the BCIM corridor in the region, and his gesture to connect Indians more easily to one of the country’s most revered destinations of Kailash-Mansarovar may bear some results when he engages Mr. Modi.
(With additional reporting by Anita Joshua)