China and India are both important engines for global growth: Xi

Modi invites the Chinese President to visit India next year

Updated - October 09, 2019 12:31 am IST

Published - April 27, 2018 05:15 pm IST - Wuhan

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting in Wuhan, China, on April 27, 2018. Photo: @MEAIndia

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting in Wuhan, China, on April 27, 2018. Photo: @MEAIndia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping began an open-ended talk, which could yield far reaching results ranging from a likely détente to a full normalisation of ties that were marred by the 1962 border war. At the end of the first round of the informal summit in the picturesque city of Wuhan, Mr. Modi invited Mr. Xi to visit India next year. “I’ll be happy, if in 2019, we can have such informal summit in India,” Mr. Modi told Mr. Xi. The two leaders held the first round of talks on day one of their informal summit amid much symbolism, and subtext, highlighting centuries of achievements of the two civilizations.  “The two countries together constituted for about 50% of the world economy and another 50% was shared by rest of the world for 1600 years,” Mr. Modi observed in remarks in the presence of Mr. Xi. The two leaders in their dialogue are not being guided by rigid talking points. Instead, they are expected to align India-China ties to counter the headwinds of growing protectionism, and more.  “China and India are both important engines for global growth and we are central pillars for promoting a multi-polar and globalised world. A good China- India relation is an important and positive factor for maintaining peace and stability in the world,” Mr. Xi said in his welcome remarks. Analysts say that the two countries are preparing to emerge as the twin engines of a new wave of globalisation, in which Asia and the emerging economies will play a leading role. “The focus of the Wuhan talks is therefore on seeking geo-economic opportunities, including new supply chains, and avoiding geopolitical rifts, which peaked with last year’s Doklam military standoff,” an official source said. Huang Jiang of Richard Von Weizsacker fellow at the Bosch Academy in Germany pointed out that U.S.-led protectionism provides the strategic cement for bonding China and India. “The informal summit is a great idea. At least both sides can see a more cooperative relationship can increase their leverage in dealing with the outside world, especially the U.S. and its allies,” Mr. Huang told The Hindu .

Observers say that China has understood that under the cover of a trade war, the Trump administration is obstructing China’s rise, triggering Beijing’s search of new geo-economic partners, including India. Domestic compulsions, including the 2019 general elections, also appear to be adding to Mr. Modi’s urgency to re-engage with China. "Before going to elections he [Mr. Modi] can say: 'Look, I have achieved something with regard to China,'" Nikkei Asian Review quoted Pankaj Jha, professor of defence and strategic studies at the O.P. Jindal Global University as saying.

 Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting in Wuhan, China on April 27, 2018. Photo: @MEAIndia

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting in Wuhan, China on April 27, 2018. Photo: @MEAIndia

“If Mr. Modi can get billions of dollars of foreign investment from China, it would be a big coup,” an official source who did not wish to be named said. Another official earlier told The Hindu that the Prime Minister is looking for progress on two pet themes — a final settlement of the border rather than “management”  of the frontier and the rise of “Asian century” in cohabitation with China.

Tibet issue


Some Chinese scholars are signaling that the discussion on resolving border issue is likely to be intertwined with the resolution of “Tibetan separatism”. In a lecture ahead of the Xi-Modi informal summit, Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual head in exile, said Tibet could remain a part of China. Last year, the Dalai Lama expressed his readiness to return to Lhasa from his abode in Dharamsala. “Historically the boundary issue and the Tibetan question is linked. If the Tibetan issue is resolved, it is very favourable for China and India to resolve the boundary, said Long Xingchun, professor at the China West Normal University. The interaction between the two leaders began on Friday afternoon when Mr. Xi received Mr. Modi at the Hubei Provincial Museum. In tune with the sobriety of the occasion, Mr. Modi avoided his customary hug with Mr. Xi. A firm handshake, a broad smile and an exchange of words appeared more appropriate. The two watched a brief performance of traditional dance-- the prologue to at least five rounds of marathon one-on-one talks spread over a day and a half.

The two leaders meet on Saturday for engagements that include a stroll on the edge of the East lake, followed by a boat ride.

Gift of art Chinese painter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented President Xi Jinping reprints of two paintings done by the celebrated Chinese painter Xu Beihong (1895-1953) during his stay at Santiniketan during 1939- 40. Xu Beihong came to Santiniketan and taught at the Kala Bhavana as its first visiting professor from China. During his stay, Rabindranath Tagore inaugurated an exhibition of more than 150 paintings of Xu Beihong in December 1939.

Titled The Horse and Sparrows and Grass , these paintings are in the collection of Visva-Bharati, and their single reprints were especially commissioned by the ICCR on the occasion of the informal summit between the two leaders at Wuhan.

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