Chinese President Xi Jinping has suggested that informal summits with free-wheeling discussions is the way to go for India and China and “future leaders should follow it”, the foreign ministry said today. President Xi has invited PM Modi for the next informal meet in China and the Prime Minister has accepted the invitation, the ministry added after the second informal meet between the two leaders at Chennai’s Mamallapuram.
Since yesterday, President Xi and PM Modi had spent more than five hours in one-on-one conversations, during which they discussed a range of issues including trade and investment, combating terror, tourism and the need to expand people to people contact.
“President Xi spoke of the informal summit making visible progress since the last time… He also said the informal summit should continue and lead on for future leaders as well,” foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said today.
In his opening remarks for the delegation-level meet, President Xi said the informal summit initiative was a “wise decision” and that he was looking forward to “further discussions in an in-depth manner with you (PM Modi) and make further plans for bilateral relations”.
The idea of unstructured, free-wheeling discussions was floated after PM Modi and President Xi met in Kazakh capital Astana in June 2017 for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
It was preceded by an informal meet between President Xi and US President Donald Trump at his glitzy Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago in 2017.
Breaking away from the protocol bound bilateral meetings, the new format allows free-wheeling, frank conversations between leaders.
Last year’s meet in Wuhan between the two leaders was considered a landmark meet credited to have turned around the bilateral relations soured by the 73-day-long Doklam standoff.
Recalling the Wuhan meet today, President Xi said it “ushered China-India relations to a new stage of healthy and steady development” and “continues to produce visible progress and closer cooperation”. The two nations, he said, now enjoy a “deeper strategic communication and effective practical cooperation”.
“Both leaders agreed that the reformed dialogue structure after the Wuhan summit has significantly improved communications between both countries.” Mr Gokhale said.
This year, India and China marked the first anniversary of the Wuhan summit with a week-long “Colours of India” festival in the central Chinese city that incorporated dance performances, movie screenings, photo exhibitions and other business and tourism promotion events.
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