China president Xi Jinping hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a two-day ‘informal’ summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Friday and Saturday. Though no official statement was released, India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on Saturday said the two leaders discussed a range of issues that were important to both India and China, and agreed that they would work on maintaining peaceful ties.
The summit is significant as it comes after months of acrimony over several issues between the two countries, including a 73-day military standoff in Doklam.
Modi, who arrived in Wuhan on Friday, said cooperation between the two countries is essential to maintain peace and stability around the world and offered to host the next informal summit between leaders of the two Asian giants, an invitation Xi accepted.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, on Friday. The tour of the museum marked the start of the informal talks between the leaders.
In his media briefing, Gokhale said the two leaders were trying a different way of communicating to build more stable ties, and agreed that their militaries needed to build trust too.
As the two large economies in Asia, the two leaders also acknowledged each other’s role in helping the global economy, and even in maintaining peace.
The two days of talks were interspersed between several cultural activities and held at picturesque, if not significant, locations.
President Xi hosted Modi at Mao Zedong’s private villa by the East Lake.
The leaders toured the Hubei Provincial Museum that hosts artefacts, were audience to a traditional folk dance, took a boat ride on the East Lake, and even took part in a tea ceremony.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose with folk dancers at the Hubei Provincial Museum, in Wuhan on Friday.
The informal talks between Modi and Xi were restricted to just the two leaders and their interpreters, seen walking behind them. R Madhu Sudan, the first secretary (political) at the Indian embassy in Beijing was Modi’s interpreter.
In this photo shared by the Prime Minister, Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping have tea by the banks of the East Lake after their walk. “Productive discussions over tea. Strong India-China friendship is beneficial for the people of our nations and the entire world,” the PM captioned the image.
PM Modi and President Xi look out on to the East Lake in Wuhan from a boat. The lake is the second largest urban lake in China, and is where Mao Zedong’s private villa is located. Xi had hosted Modi at the villa.
Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that the informal talks had given them a chance to candidly discuss issues concerning both countries. The leaders took a boat ride on the lake, one that Modi said was “ memorable”.
A dancer strikes a pose during a folk dance performance welcoming PM Modi and President Xi at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, China, on Friday.
Folk dancers performing in traditional costume at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan on Friday. Modi and Xi kick started their two-day summit at the museum.
PM Modi and President Xi look at an artefact on display at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan on Saturday. Modi on Twitter thanked President Xi Jinping for the “wonderful gesture of personally accompanying” him. “The Museum is home to great facets of Chinese history and culture,” he said of his visit.
At the museum, Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw an exhibition of the Marquis Yi of Zeng Cultural Relics and Treasure.
Modi’s trip ended on Saturday afternoon when he flew back to New Delhi.