MAMALLAPURAM: Call it the Chennai Connect, if you will. The leaders of India and China during their second informal summit underscored in unison that the Wuhan spirit led to “fresh momentum and increased stability” in bilateral relations and decided to manage their differences prudently.
“The Wuhan spirit has led to increased stability and fresh momentum in bilateral relations,” said India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the start of the delegation-level talks between India and China at the Fishermen’s Cove resort in Mamallapuram. Stressing that the 2018 summit has enhanced strategic communication, Mr Modi underlined the need for both re-emerging countries to be sensitive to each other’s concerns.
Alluding to the first informal summit in Wuhan, Mr Modi underlined that the two countries had decided to prudently manage differences and to not allow differences to turn into disputes.
Looking ahead, the Indian leader said the Chennai summit will usher in “a new phase in India-China relations.”
“We will be sensitive to each other’s concerns. India-China relations will be an anchor of peace and stability in region and the world,” he said.
Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, stressed that the Wuhan spirit ushered bilateral relations into a new stage of healthy and peaceful development. The summit, Mr Xi said, enhanced strategic communication, more practical cooperation and closer cooperation on multilateral issues. Going forward, he said that the format of the informal summit will continue in the future as well. “We will continue this informal interaction. We have made the right decision to have informal interaction,” he said.
Trade & Terrorism
The striking convergence of perspectives and similarity of language used by the two leaders highlighted the shared desire and ambition by Mr Modi and Mr Xi to steer bilateral relations into a higher trajectory despite differences over contentious issues such as Kashmir and Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The delegation-level talks at a luxury resort in Mamallapuram took place after more than six hours of one-on-one discussions between the two leaders since Xi Jinping touched down in Chennai around 2 pm on October 11.
The heart-to-heart talk over dinner against the backdrop of the scenic Shore Temple on October 11 lasted more than two and a half hours, fuelling hopes for concrete movement forward in areas of border-related CBMs, reducing trade deficit and cooperation in terrorism. Trade and cooperation in combating terrorism and radicalisation figured prominently in discussions between the two leaders in India and China, said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.