In the backdrop of 7th century rock-cut chariots of Pancha Ratha overlooking the Bay of Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping sipped coconut water and engaged in casual interaction in a serene setting on October 11, sending signs of positive atmospherics in bilateral ties strained over Kashmir.
Mr. Modi, dressed in a Tamil attire of veshti, white shirt and an angavastram, took Mr. Xi for a guided tour of the famous world heritage sites of Arjuna’s Penance, Krishna’s Butterball, the Pancha Ratha and Shore temple in this ancient temple town, kicking off the second informal summit between the two leaders.
“The free flowing nature of the informal summit at the UNESCO world heritage site will continue and deepen contacts at the highest level and guide the future trajectory of India-China relationship,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Ravesh Kumar tweeted.
Mr. Xi’s visit to India comes two days after he held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Beijing. After the talks, a joint statement said China is paying “close attention” to the situation in Kashmir and that the issue should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter. The comments evoked sharp reaction from New Delhi.
Here are the live updates:
‘Highly productive day with a pleasant conversation’
“Concluding a highly productive day with a pleasant conversation over a long dinner... PM @narendramodi & Chinese President Xi continued their exchange of views on deepening of the India-China partnership over a breathtaking Kalakshetra cultural performance followed by dinner,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has tweeted.
Modi hosts private dinner for Xi
After the cultural event, Mr. Modi hosted Mr. Xi for a private dinner at the Shore temple complex. Eight delegates from each side were also invited for the dinner and they sat in tables little away from Mr. Xi and Mr. Modi’s. Delicately selected authentic Tamil cuisines including vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes were served in the dinner.
According to available information, the two leaders will be treated to a sumptuous dinner, comprising sambhar, besides other delicacies.
Arachu vitta Sambhar , prepared from grounded lentils, certain spices and coconut to make it that much tastier is touted to be the key attraction in the menu.
The meal will include thakkali rasam (tomato rasam) and kadalai korma (chick pea korma ), besides halwa as the premier dessert.
Further, the Chinese President will be treated to a select non-vegetarian delicacies.
Tamil song at cultural event invokes peace, the Mahatma
A Tamil classic song Shanti nilava vendum (Let peace prevail) to the accompaniment of dance wrapped up the cultural programme watch by Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi.
The song, a very popular number, bats for peace everywhere and building spiritual strength, saying it is the diktat of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Tamil verses depict the Mahatma as an “Ahimsa yogi”, and a father figure for the nation. Also, it roots for lofty ideals like compassion and unity. The rendering of the song at the cultural event is seen as a hint to the government’s stand that it is for peace.
The cultural programme drew to a close with the instrumental rendition of Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram .
Modi and Xi watch cultural event at Shore Temple
The two leaders are now watching a cultural performance on the backdrop of the Shore temple.
After the event, Mr. Modi will host the Chinese leader for a private dinner. Eight delegates from each side were also invited for the dinner and they will sit in tables a little away from Mr. Xi and Mr. Modi’s.
Delicately selected authentic Tamil cuisine will be served in the dinner at the Shore temple complex overlook the Bay of Bengal, officials said.
Modi and Xi walk around Shore Temple
The Shore Temple at Mamallapuram in the lap of the Bay of Bengal, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hosting Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday for the informal summit, is one of the cultural icons of the ancient Tamil architecture.
The Shore Temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. According to the UNESCO, “This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries.”
With the backdrop of this ancient heritage site, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping would soak in south Indian music and dance at sunset on Friday.
According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Mamallapuram, or the city of Mamalla, was named after the title of the Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman-I (AD 630-68).
"It was a sea-port during the time of Periplus (1st century AD) and Ptolemy (AD 140) and many Indian colonists sailed to South-East Asia through this port town. While there is some evidence of architectural activity going back to the period of Mahendravarman-I (AD 600-30)," the ASI states.
Modi, Xi tour Mamallapuram
Dressed in crisp white shirt and dhoti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping in coastal town of Mamallapuram. Both the leaders are taking a tour around the famous caves and stone sculptures around Mamallapuram.
Modi chose Mamallapuram as venue
Mr. Modi personally chose Mamallapuram as the venue for this summit, according to a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Pointing out that a recce was carried out in June, the official said several factors including historical significance and infrastructure were considered before selecting the place, famed for its rock-cut sculptures.
Chinese President travels to Mamallapuram by road
Chinese President Xi Jinping is travelling to Mamallapuram via road from ITC Grand Chola in Chennai. The over 50 kilometre-stretch usually takes about two hours. But the entire East Coast Road has been under security blanket and vehicles are not allowed to ply in order to speed up Mr. Xi's journey.
Along the route, Chinese nationals, local people, AIADMK and BJP party cadre, schoolchildren and folk artistes have lined up to greet the Chinese leader.
Trade, boundary disputes and the looming issue of Kashmir. The second ‘informal summit’ between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will address a range of issues that is likely to shape the nature of the relationship between the two countries even beyond the Mamallapuram summit.
Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu , and Ananth Krishnan, visiting fellow, University of Hong Kong discuss.
Chinese president arrived at the ITC Grand Chola around 2.30 p.m. While Chinese nationals welcomed him by waving their flags, many Chennaites too waited eagerly to catch a glimpse of the Chinese VVIP.
Nadaswaram and Tavil were played to welcome the guests.
The road was completely blocked ahead of the visit
Around 200 Chinese nationals have descended to Chennai from various parts of India. "I work in Mumbai. I flew to Chennai just to catch a glimpse of my President. I am so happy that he waved me back," says Zhou.
One Chinese woman waiting near the hotel fainted due to heat. She is being given first-aid.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's aircraft has arrived in Chennai airport. His convoy, that reached the city days ago, too reached the airport from ITC Gran Chola on time.
The Chinese President was greeted with traditional music and 'poorna kumbam'. Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Speaker P. Dhanapal, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam are already at the airport to welcome Mr. Xi.
A brief cultural ceremony was organised to welcome the visiting leader.
A large number of artistes lined up at the airport waving colourful flags, beating drums and dancing to traditional music to welcome the influential Chinese leader.
Mr. Xi is accompanied by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi. Both are scheduled to hold separate talks with their Indian counterparts — S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives at the Chennai airport.
Convoy leaves to pick up Chinese President
A convoy leaves from ITC Grand Chola, to pick up Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will be arriving at the Chennai airport shortly.
Protesting Tibetans held
Five Tibetans were detained by the police here on Friday for allegedly trying to stage a protest near ITC Grand Chola, where Chinese President Xi Jinping is slated to stay during his two-day visit here near the on Friday.
"Five Tibetans started raising slogans against the Chinese president. They were removed from the spot and taken to Guindy police station," said a police officer.
Police whisked away a person with Tibetan flag who attempted to stage a sudden protest and were seen restraining him from raising any slogans.
He was whisked away in an auto rickshaw by some police personnel even as four others were removed in a police vehicle.
The police have detained close to 20 Tibetans over the past few days to thwart attempts to protest.
In a separate incident at least six Tibetans, who reportedly came from Bengaluru, were held outside Chennai airport.
Modi leaves for Fishermen's Cove
PM Modi leaves for Fishermen's Cove where he will be staying. Fishermen's Cove is en route to Mamallapuram from Tiruvidanthai. Mr. Modi will travel by road to Mamallapuram from there.
Modi lands in Tiruvidanthai
The chopper carrying Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi lands at Tiruvidanthai helipad, that was set up during the Defence Expo last year.
Narendra Modi tweets in Tamil and Mandarin
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Chennai's Meenambakkam airport posted photos of him being greeted by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Deputy CM O. Panneerselvam and other State ministers.
"Landed in Chennai. I am happy to be in the great land of Tamil Nadu, known for its wonderful culture and hospitality. It is gladdening that Tamil Nadu will host President Xi Jinping. May this Informal Summit further strengthen ties between India and China," Mr. Modi tweeted in English, followed by Tamil and then in Mandarin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lands at the Chennai airport. He was received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami at Chennai airport. He will shortly travel to Mamallapuram by helicopter.
Fewer buses on roads
Even as heavy police personnel are posted at every junctions of the arterial roads of Velachery, Guindy and Adambakkam, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation has been operating fewer bus services.
The arterial GST Road has been fully blocked between Guindy and Tambaram as vehicle’s are being diverted through other roads.
Chennai Police Commissioner reviews security arrangements
Chennai City Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan reviews security arrangements ahead Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit to city.
Security officers conducted rehearsals from Chennai airport. Authorities comprising of Chennai Corporation, Highways, Horticulture Department and other line departments erected hoardings and arches with fruits, flowers and vegetables of state welcoming Chinese President and Prime Minister. Traditional plantain trees and sugar canes, turmeric plants are tied on poles.
Prime Minister Modi is likely to land in Chennai airport shortly. He will be received by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam at the airport.
Trade, border dispute likely to dominate talks
Trade issues, boundary disputes and multilateral cooperation are expected to dominate the “informal summit” at Mamallapuram as the seaside resort on the outskirts of Chennai prepares to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday and Saturday.
Also read: Focus on thwarting intrusions, activation of sleeper cells
Mr. Xi will land in Chennai past 2 p.m. — about two hours after Mr. Modi. He will head to the Mamallapuram temple complex for an evening with Mr. Modi, which will include a tour of the monuments and a dance performance at the Shore Temple at sunset, followed by dinner. On Saturday, the talks will be more structured and will include time for a “one-on-one” meeting, followed by delegation-level talks.
Poorna Kumbam awaits Xi
When Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Chennai, an honour will await him at the Chennai International Airport.
Mr. Xi, also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, will be accorded the Poorna Kumbam honour by priests of the Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore.
The traditional Poorna Kumbam is considered the highest honour accorded by the temple priests to dignitaries. Poorna Kumbam , with a decorated metal pitcher filled with holy water, fresh mango leaves and a coconut on top, is accorded to dignitaries as part of Hindu rituals during auspicious occasions.
A total of five priests from the Kapaleeswarar temple will accord the honour to the Chinese President within the airport. Informed sources also hinted that a Chinese translator is likely to accompany the priests. The priests will reach the airport an hour before the Chinese President’s arrival.
Following the Poorna Kumbam , cultural events have also been organised within the airport campus. After this, the Chinese President and his delegation will reach the hotel in Guindy, before leaving for Mamallapuram.
T.N. Police deploy drones to survey route
In a first, the Tamil Nadu police have used photogrammetric mapping using drones for deploying manpower and security infrastructure along the East Coast Road (ECR) in Chennai, ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mamallapuram on Friday.
Security personnel, with technical assistance from scientists of Anna University, flew six drones along the 35-km stretch between VGP Golden Beach and Mamallapuram, to capture live feed. At least 30,000 high-resolution photographs of roads and buildings, on either side of the ECR, were taken to plan the deployment of manpower. Earlier, the police were dependent on Google Maps for survey and planning the security scheme, but the data was not an updated one.
(With inputs from our Correspondents, Agencies)