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India, China to set up ‘people-to-people mechanism’ to carry forward ties since Modi-Xi Wuhan summit

India and China have decided to set up a new “people-to-people mechanism” to build on the momentum in bilateral ties from the Wuhan Summit, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks on Saturday during their second meeting in nearly six weeks.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2018 23:46 IST
Press Trust of India, Qingdao (China)
India,China,people-to-people mechanism
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Chinese President Xi Jinping during the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Qingdao, China, on Saturday.(Reuters)

India and China have decided to set up a new “people-to-people mechanism” to build on the momentum in bilateral ties from the Wuhan Summit, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks on Saturday during their second meeting in nearly six weeks.

The decision to step up people to people contacts was announced by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale during a press briefing after the meeting between the two leaders in this coastal city of China where PM Modi arrived for the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Modi had met Xi in April in an unprecedented two-day ‘heart-to-heart’ summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan to “solidify” the India-China relationship after the Doklam standoff last year.

During their summit, they had held a candid exchange of views in a relaxing and friendly atmosphere on topics related to international relations, China-India relations and cooperation in various areas and reached important consensus.

“During the Wuhan summit, the two countries had also decided that people to people contact and people to people exchanges were a significant part of the relationship going forward that we needed to build better synergies through various means including films, culture, yoga, traditional Indian medicine, art, museum, and so on,” Gokhale said.

“And in that context, the two leaders have agreed that a new people-to-people mechanism will be set up. It will be headed on the Indian side by the external affairs minister and on the Chinese side by the state council and foreign minster Wang Yi and the first meeting of this people-to-people mechanism will be held this year,” he added.

He said one of the important issues discussed in that context was Indian films, with President Xi in fact referring to the growing popularity of Indian films in China.

Xi not only mentioned “Dangal”, but also cited “Baahubali” and “Hindi Medium” as films which have been screened in China and received popular accalaim, the Foreign Secretary said.

According to information on the external affairs ministry website, China was one of the co-sponsors to the UN resolution designating June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.

At present, the Indian community in China is around 35,500. A major part of this comprises students (over 18,000), who are pursuing courses in various universities in China. A number of Indians and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) are also working as professionals with various multinational and Indian companies in China, it says.

First Published: Jun 09, 2018 23:46 IST