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 Friday, sending signs of positive atmospherics in bilateral ties strained over Kashmir.
PM Modi, dressed in a Tamil attire of ‘Veshti’ (Dhoti), white shirt and an ‘angavastram’ (shawl), took 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.
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.
Shortly after Xi’s aircraft touched down in Chennai, government sources said the two leaders are expected to issue some directions at the end of the summit on Saturday as they did after the first edition of new format of engagement in Chinese city of Wuhan last year.
Officials on both sides said the focus of the Modi-Xi summit would be to move forward and chart a new pathway of development notwithstanding sharp differences between the two countries over several contentious issues.
In the footage beamed by public broadcaster Doordarshan of the two leaders visiting the magnificent monuments, Modi was seen warmly explaining to the Chinese leader the historical significance of the monuments with the dazzling setting sun casting a soft glow over the iconic site.
Xi, wearing a white shirt and black trouser, was seen showing keen interest in the famous caves and stone sculptures in the heritage site in this coastal town which had historical links with China’s Fujian province.
Modi and Xi, assisted by one translator from each side, sat down for around 15 minutes at Pancha Ratha complex, an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture, and engaged in casual talks while sipping coconut water - images reflecting warmth in personal chemistry between the two leaders of two emerging economies.
From Pancha Ratha, the two leaders visited the beautifully lit-up Shore temple - a symbol of cultural heritage of the Pallava dynasty. After spending some time together, Modi and Xi were joined by top delegates of both sides and all them witnessed a cultural programme presented by Kalakshetra society.
After the event, Modi hosted Xi for a private dinner at the Shore temple complex which was beautifully decorated with lights and flowers. Eight delegates from each side were also invited for the dinner and they sat in tables little away from Xi and Modi’s. Delicately selected authentic Tamil cuisines including vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes were served in the dinner.
At the site of Krishna’s butterball, a gigantic granite boulder sitting firmly on the slope of a hillock, Modi held Xi’s hands, reflecting warmth in their personal chemistry.
“Standing together and tall!,” said Kumar in a Twitter post.
Concluding a highly productive day with a pleasant conversation over a long dinner— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) October 11, 2019
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. pic.twitter.com/bDwiFOX450
8.00 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are at the Shore Temple enjoying the ambience around.
Mahabalipuram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend cultural program at the Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. pic.twitter.com/XynWn8jVFf— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
Tamil Nadu: External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, at Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram. pic.twitter.com/NfbjkM92hc— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
6.10 pm: PM Narendra Modi takes Chinese President Xi Jinping to a guided tour of Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram.
Tamil Nadu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Panch Rathas in Mahabalipuram. pic.twitter.com/z3WvL89PLx— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
5.39 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi serves coconut water to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mahabalipuram: PM Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the round boulder known as Krishna’s Butter Ball— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) October 11, 2019
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5.20 pm: PM Modi and Xi Jinping reaches Krishna's Butterball.
#WATCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping visit group of temples at Mahabalipuram. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is prescribed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. #TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/Yf8mHXCxh5— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
Tamil Nadu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Arjuna's Penance in Mahabalipuram. pic.twitter.com/5YM3eVqBhb— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
5.05 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mahabalipuram.
5.03 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches Mahabalipuram:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Mahabalipuram for the second informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PM Modi is adorning a veshti (dhoti).— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) October 11, 2019
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Tamil Nadu: Chinese President Xi Jinping on his way to Mahabalipuram. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping will hold their second informal summit in Mahabalipuram— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) October 11, 2019
ðŸ“¸: ANI pic.twitter.com/30An4JQr9o
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his way to Mahabalipuram. PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold second informal summit in Mahabalipuram— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) October 11, 2019
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From Wuhan to Chennai— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) October 11, 2019
President Xi Jinping arrived in Chennai to a warm and colourful welcome for the 2nd Informal Summit with PM @narendramodi. Taking off from the #WuhanSpirit, the #ChennaiSpirit will continue to chart the future course of India-China partnership. pic.twitter.com/eV0myJu5Tr
4.00 pm: Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves for Mahabalipuram from Chennai. President Xi and PM Narendra will hold their second informal summit in the city, later today.
3.30 pm: Ahead of the summit, the state media said the Modi-Xi meeting would focus 'more' on how to move beyond the past and present differences to forge a cooperative partnership.
Chinese President #XiJinping arrives in Chennai, received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit.— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) October 11, 2019
The second informal summit between Prime Minister @narendramodi and President Xi will begin in Mahabalipuram today #ModiXiSummit
Track LIVE updates: https://t.co/B0qho1mNkO pic.twitter.com/52Tc7l36Mu
Chinese President Xi Jinping was received by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami, deputy CM O Panneerselvam among others.
Meanwhile, ANI has revealed that duration of engagement between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi will be 6 hours. One-on-one meeting will be for almost 40 minutes. Both sides will issue press statements after the meeting. Local Tamil cuisine will be served to President Xi at dinner today.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Chennai
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Chennai for the second informal summit, which will begin in Mahabalipuram today— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) October 11, 2019
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Chennai
#VIDEO | Prime Minister @narendramodi arrives in Chennai. He has been received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister @CMOTamilNadu— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) October 11, 2019
Track LIVE updates:https://t.co/B0qho1mNkO pic.twitter.com/zgChyGd2dB
President Xi leaves for India
Chinese President Xi Jinping has left for India for the second informal meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. He will arrive at Tamil Nadu capital Chennai late afternoon. The Chinese President is due to leave for Nepal on Saturday afternoon.
Who is coming with President Xi?
Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have deployed warships to provide security to the meeting between PM Modi and President Xi at Mamallapuram. These warships have been deployed at some distance from shore to provide security from any seaborne threat. READ FULL STORY
Here's the expected itinerary of the summit