In an exceptional departure from tradition, Prime Minister Modi will greet visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping not in Delhi, but in Ahmedabad when he arrives on September 17.
As reported in The Hindu last month, Mr. Xi is keen on a visit to Gujarat, where he is expected to witness the signing of several MoUs in business and infrastructural investment.
But the Gujarat visit will be more about bonding than business between the two leaders, informed sources say. Mr. Modi will personally escort Mr. Xi to the Sabarmati Ashram and the riverfront park that was developed when he was Chief Minister. September 17 is also Mr. Modi's birthday, and the two leaders are expected to attend a private banquet that night, according to an official of the Ministry of External Affairs.
20 agreements, MoUs to be signed during Xi’s India visit
Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India next week, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao told journalists in Beijing on Tuesday that President Xi’s visit will mark the beginning of “another era in Sino-Indian ties’, embedded with strong “strategic” resonance.
India and China are expected to sign as many as 20 agreements and MoUs in Delhi, on issues related to infrastructure development, cultural ties among others. Chief amongst the agreements will be the setting up of two ‘industrial cities’ near Gandhinagar and Pune on the lines of the Chinese manufacturing hub Shenzen.
In a departure from custom, President Xi will be received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad, not Delhi. According to one Indian expert involved with the planning the visit, “The optics of this visit will be very much like the Kyoto visit of Mr. Modi,” where he was seen visiting a temple and feeding fish along with Prime Minister Abe. Mr. Xi’s delegation, is expected to eclipse other visitors with more than 50 businessmen and CEOs.
The two leaders, who are meeting for the second time since Mr Modi took office, are expected to discuss the road ahead in the Sino-Indian border negotiations. However, the two countries are still to appoint their Special Representatives for the border talks. In Delhi on September 18, President Xi will receive the official welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and will outline his vision for India-China ties at a speech which will be broadcast live in China. Before he leaves India on September 19, he will present Friendship awards to the family of the Dr. Kotnis, revered for his service in China during the Sino-Japanese war. President Xi will also meet Congress party president Sonia Gandhi.