Modi-Xi to chart a new course for India-China ties

Modi-Xi to chart a new course  for India-China ties

NEW DELHI, April 22: The informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping will be just that — no outcome documents are planned nor are long delegation meetings.
In those two days in Wuhan, Modi and Xi are expected to spend the maximum ‘quality’ face time as two global leaders of two major powers. The idea of the summit is not to focus on the nitty-gritty of the bilateral relationship like NSG or Masood Azhar, those will be left to the ministers and officials to negotiate. Neither side is looking to this summit to solve these daily problems. But there is a lot to talk about. Neither side wants a repeat of 2017 when India-China relations were at precariously low levels.
The meetings will be largely one-on-one (with translators) or “restricted” that is, with few officials on either side to give the leaders greater opportunity to discuss global issues, exchange notes on the growth trajectories of their respective nations and build the foundations for greater “strategic communications” at the stratospheric level of the top leadership.
Former foreign secretary S Jaishankar told news agency ANI, “It’s an informal summit, they’ll be meeting in informal environment, agenda will be open, they’ll spend lot of time over two days and there will be different kind of conversations, much more personal and interactive.”
During the preparation, the Indian government emphasized the importance of this trust-building meeting, and in the discussions, the Chinese side reportedly responded with alacrity. Giving a sneak peek into the forthcoming summit, Jaishankar, in recent remarks at an event in Singapore said, “We have agreed that the new world order has not come yet. The new order has to be fairer. We need a new world order, there is much more common ground between players.” India is looking for a more consultative broader international framework.
China has its own uncertainties — between North Korea, US and the instability in the west in Af-Pak. Xi Jinping’s ‘China dream’ is coming up against unexpected challenges. In addition, sources said, China was surprised by the outcome of the Doklam crisis. But they felt “damaged” by India’s open opposition to OBOR, points picked up by key countries in the world, that has successfully branded Xi’s initiative as a colonial exercise.
The two leaders are, according to sources, expected to produce a paradigm for the future relationship where both sides should be sensitive to each other’s concerns and interests. This kind of framework building, both sides believe, can happen through quiet, focused discussions between leaders.
The summit has been in the works for several months, with a small group of officials under the guidance of the Prime Minister putting together this meeting.
Wuhan has a strong Mao connection, since Mao had a famous home there on the east lake, called Meiling. It is reported that he received US President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger there among other global leaders, when he was alive. (Agencies)