Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held multiple meetings in Wuhan city on Friday, the first day of the Indian leader’s two-day tour of China.
The two leaders exchanged views on strengthening the relationship between the two countries and also spoke about how they could help eradicate problems in the world. Modi also invited Xi to India in 2019. “I hope such informal summits become a tradition between both the countries,” Modi added. “I’ll be happy, if in 2019, we can have such a summit in India.”
The meeting is seen as an effort to improve bilateral ties between the two countries which had weakened because of the Doklam standoff last year. The Doklam plateau, near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, was the site of a 74-day-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops from June to August 2017. Since the standoff ended, both countries have maintained that talks are on to improve troubled ties.
Earlier in the day, the Indian prime minister told Xi said that the two countries have a common history of their cultures progressing along the banks of rivers. He cited the examples of the Mohenjo Daro and Harappa civilisations.
Modi also shared a memory from an earlier trip to the country. “When I was the chief minister of Gujarat, I had the opportunity to visit Wuhan,” Modi told Xi. “I had heard a lot about the Three Gorges Dam. The speed with which China constructed it and the scale inspired me. So I came on a study tour.”
Modi said China and India had the responsibility to work for 40% of the world’s population, according to ANI. “This means trying to rid the world of many problems,” the prime minister said. “To work together towards this is a big opportunity for us.”
Before the talks, Modi toured Hubei Provincial Museum where a cultural programme was staged for the two leaders. He attended a private lunch hosted by President Xi at Mao Zendong’s villa.
Before leaving for Wuhan, Modi had said he would review Sino-India relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. “President Xi and I will exchange views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance,” Modi had said. “We will discuss our respective visions and priorities for national development, particularly in the context of current and future international situation.”
This is Modi’s fourth visit to the country since 2014. He is due to visit China again on June 9 and June 10 for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.