Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit India on Friday

Cheryl Sanders
October 9, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit India from October 11 to 12 to take part in the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which they are expected to hold comprehensive talks on a host of issues concerning the bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and worldwide issues.

This is the first positive sign amid a series of strong statements and moves that have adversely impacted the bilateral space before the informal summit.

Xi will hold the informal meeting with Modi in the coastal town of Mamallapuram near Chennai from October 11 to 12 and then pay a state visit to Nepal on October 13, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying announced here on Wednesday.

"We have had a clear confirmation for weeks but we had jointly chose to announce it only a couple of days earlier", said a senior official, The visit comes after a series of irritants between both countries in recent weeks over India's moves in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which saw Beijing openly criticise New Delhi at the UN Security Council meeting. China has also irked India with its recent diplomatic support for Pakistan.

"The forthcoming Chennai Informal Summit will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to continue their discussions on overarching issues of bilateral, regional and global importance and to exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership", the statement added. Government sources said there was "needless speculation" on why the Chinese President's visit wasn't announced till today. The main informal summit will be on October 12. Modi will hold one-to-one and delegation-level talks with the Chinese president.

Ahead of Mr Xi's trip to India, China invited Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for talks on bilateral issues. The two sides have already held over 20 rounds of border talks under the framework of the Special Representatives dialogue, set up to find an early solution to the border dispute. "Over the past decades, no single bullet has been fired at the China-India border area, and peace and tranquility has been maintained", Sun said.

India says its revocation of the special status of Muslim-majority Kashmir, which was accompanied by a crackdown on dissent by the security forces, is an internal matter aimed at developing the Himalayan territory, which is also claimed by Pakistan, more quickly. China criticised India's decision on Kashmir and its Foreign Minister Wang Yi even raised it at the UN General Assembly last month. "The two sides have steadily promoted cooperation in various fields and properly dealt with differences and sensitive issues", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday.

During Mr Xi's visit, Mr Modi is expected to raise economic issues, including India's US$53 billion (S$73 billion) trade deficit with China in 2018/19, and the smaller presence of Indian companies in China compared with other major economies. "So, at present, the relationship between China and India has reached a very delicate point", said Cheng Xiaohe at the Department of International Politics at Renmin University.

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