Modi, Xi mix business and leisure

September 18, 2014 12:00 am | Updated 05:48 am IST - AHMEDABAD:

Two agreements, one MoU signed in Ahmedabad leg of visit

The three-day visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India began on a positive note here on Wednesday with Mr. Xi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharing a rare bonhomie and the two countries signing two agreements and one memorandum of understanding.

The strong note of symbolism, ceremony and camaraderie between the two leaders set the stage for substantive talks to be held in New Delhi on Thursday.

Mr. Xi is the first Chinese President to visit India in eight years. As the stakes are high for both, Mr. Modi, in a special gesture, travelled to Ahmedabad to welcome the Chinese leader.

After meeting Mr. Xi for a brief one-on-one interaction in a hotel and the signing of the agreements, it was time for some leisure as Mr. Modi received the Chinese leader at the Sabarmati Ashram.

The visit to the ashram marked a defining moment in the diplomatic exchange as Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi sat on the floor and spun the charkha. The Chinese President gifted a charkha, a book and other items in a sealed box to the ashram authorities.

In the evening on the Sabarmati riverfront, Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi witnessed a cultural programme by several dance troupes from Gujarat that showcased the local culture. The high point of the evening was an elaborate dinner Mr. Modi hosted for Mr. Xi, his wife, Peng Liyuan, and a delegation of 22 members, including Indian invitees.

The visit to Sabarmati Ashram marked a defining moment in the diplomatic exchange

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