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PM Modi, Xi Jinping could meet at Mao’s iconic villa in historic Wuhan city

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold an informal summit meeting in China’s central city of Wuhan, a meet which may well be a historic one and a defining moment in the history of Sino-Indian ties.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2018 08:54 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Modi in China,Modi Xi meeting,Mao
Prime Minister Narendra Modi(L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping leave after a group picture during BRICSSummit in Benaulim, in Goa, on October 16, 2016.(Reuters File Photo)

The setting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 27 and 28 is, aptly, informal: by the scenic East Lake in the historic city of Wuhan and likely at the late Mao Zedong’s private villa, according to people familiar with the matter.

Modi will be flying straight to Wuhan, and the two leaders are expected to get into a huddle immediately after he lands on the afternoon of April 27. He is expected to have another session with Xi on the morning of April 28, and return the same afternoon.

READ: Warm handshakes to border standoffs: Highs and lows in India, China ties

“As the very nature of informal summits goes, it’s all about the leaders discussing issues, sharing their vision in an informal set up,” said a government official on condition of anonymity

HT first reported on March 17 that Modi and Xi would meet informally in China.

“The meeting will be at a picturesque locale on the banks of the famous East Lake. And as informal summits are structured, the meetings are all about the one-to-one engagement of the two leaders,” said a diplomat on conditions of anonymity. The two leaders will have their own interpreters.

The most significant landmark on the banks of the lake is the famous villa of late chairman Mao Zedong, Mei Ling, which is lined by pines, bamboos and plum trees.

It used to be the retreat for chairman Mao and the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

There is another Wuhan connection: it is the home town of Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui.

“It will be an honour for me to see this historic event in my home city,” the envoy said in a video message.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be accompanied by senior officials including national security advisor Ajit Doval.

READ: Backchannel deliberations got Modi, Xi together but will Wuhan bear fruit?

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 07:32 IST