President Xi Jinping landed in India to a rousing welcome and held several meetings. But the Indian communist brass—who often draw inspiration from their Chinese counterparts—did not get a chance for an exclusive interaction with Xi.
CPI(M) politburo leader and the chief of the Left group in parliament, Sitaram Yechury, however, met the head of the Chinese state Thursday at the state banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee. Although the party missed a chance of a private conversation with Xi, Yechury managed a brief courtesy talk with him. The CPI(M) leader told Xi that a party delegation is currently visiting China.
Government sources said, this time there was no request from the Chinese to meet Indian Left leaders. Observers see it as a shift from the past when Chinese leaders visiting India would reach out their Indian counterparts and held closed-door meetings.
Any meeting between domestic political leaders and visiting foreign dignitaries takes place only after taking the government of the day into confidence.
In the pecking order of the banquet, Yechury, however, was the first among the non-officials sitting next to foreign secrtary Sujata Singh.
Many leaders recall when Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, in 2010, took time out of his busy schedule to meet Yechury. He is even asked about the Trinamool phenomenon and the CPI(M)’s challenges in West Bengal—the state ruled by the longest-serving elected communist government.