The summit is being held in the historic city of Mamallapuram on Friday in an attempt to reconfigure ties between two of the world’s biggest powers amidst major disagreements on certain issues between India and China.
President Xi’s visit comes after the two sides exchanged sharp words over Kashmir following Xi’s meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan two days ago. In a statement after the meeting, China said it was “paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir” and it “opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation”.
During the informal talks, the issue of terrorism and its funding, trade and border issues are likely to be key discussed between two leaders. No statement or joint communique will be issued by both sides after the visit as it is an informal and unstructured meet.
The importance of choosing Mamallapuram for Modi-Jinping summit:
The two-day informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mamallapuram, 56 km from Chennai, gives impetus to the cultural and trade link that once existed in the ancient era between the heritage coastal town and China around 1,600 years ago.
Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram, had ancient trade links between the Pallava kings and China. The seventh-century heritage town, which was a vibrant port city, had served as a gateway for imports and exports to China and South Asia. It was also part of China’s Silk Route.
Mahabalipuram was established by Narasimhavarman I of the Pallava dynasty in the seventh century AD. It was established as a seaport town by the Pallava king to carry out merchandise trade with other parts of the world. The city is named after Pallava king Narasimhavarman, who was hailed as “Mamallan” for his excellence in warfare and hence, the seaport town was named Mamallapuram.
According to historians, the Pallavas had sent their envoys to China as they had a good relationship with Chinese rulers. The China-Pallava dynasty relationship included an understanding of the defence ties. Narasimhavarman II had offered help to the Chinese rulers to take on the Arabs and Tibetans.
Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang went around the Pallava kingdom of Narasimhavarman I and lauded the people’s valour, conduct, and excellence in education. The rich cultural linkages of Mamallapuram’s relations with China makes it best suited for hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping for an informal summit.
President Xi Jinping will commence his visit to India today. He will reach Chennai around 2 PM on Friday. He will then proceed to Mahabalipuram, where he will be joined by PM Modi. PM Modi is expected to show him around three of the site’s ancient monuments – Arjuna’s Penance, Panch Rathas and the Shore Temple.
President Xi Jinping is expected to travel along the scenic East Coast Road to reach Mamallapuram and would return to Chennai later in the night. Later, the two leaders will also watch a cultural programme at the magnificent Shore temple.
On Saturday morning, the two leaders will hold their informal meet at the Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort & Spa, which will be followed by delegation-level talks. PM Modi will also host President Xi for dinner and lunch.