Boundary disputes, trade issues and multilateral cooperation are the topics that are expected to be discussed at the “informal summit” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mallapuram of Chennai on Friday and Saturday.
Mr. Xi is expected to land in Chennai at around 2 p.m. about two hours after Indian PM Modi. After reaching the south indian city, he will head to the Mamallapuram temple complex for an evening meeting with Mr. Modi, which will consist of a tour of the monuments and a dance performance at the Shore Temple at sunset, followed by dinner. But on the next day,the talks between the two leaders will be more structured and there will be a separate time column for a “one-on-one” meeting, followed by delegation-level talks.
“The objective is to ensure that the communication between the leaders is one which is routinised, easy going and indicates that President Xi Jinping and PM Modi are getting down to business in an informal way, not simply at a structured meeting of a [limited time] where prepared statements are read out in a much more practical way,” a senior official said while confronting the media.
The talks on bilateral trade will revolve around India’s ongoing worry over the trade deficit. If we go by the latest figures, the trade deficit in China’s favour reduced last year to about $53 billion, but officials hope to bring it much lower by ensuring China provides market access to more Indian companies.
Mr. Modi would also like to have guarantees from Mr. Xi ahead of the RCEP free trade agreement signing on November 1. Apart from this, other topic of discussion would be Indian security concerns over including Chinese tech giant Huawei in its 5G trials in the coming weeks.
Officials expect that after trade talks, the leaders will move towards the negotiations to be done by the special representatives on boundary talks as well as other high-level exchanges in the coming future. A series of defence, border management and counter-terrorism related exchanges are also expected to be discussed.