Date
22 October 2019
Students wearing masks of China's president sit in a formation that reads "Xi Jinping" in Chinese, ahead of an informal summit between Xi and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a south Indian resort town. Photo: Reuters
Students wearing masks of China's president sit in a formation that reads "Xi Jinping" in Chinese, ahead of an informal summit between Xi and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a south Indian resort town. Photo: Reuters

Modi-Xi talks seen focusing on ‘confidence-building measures’

Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to agree new security measures along their unsettled border during a summit on Friday, Reuters reports.

The two are meeting in a seaside resort in southern India after weeks of jousting over India’s decision to revoke the special status of its part of the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

India said on Wednesday that any change to Kashmir’s status was an internal affair and there was no place for a third country to be involved, after Xi said he was watching the situation closely and assured Pakistan of Chinese support for its core interests.

China has longstanding military ties with Pakistan, which has twice fought a war with India over Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Modi and Xi will be aiming to prevent a further deterioration in relations during the informal summit in Mamallapuram, and the expectation is the two sides will move forward on a set of confidence-building measures, Reuters cited an unidentified Indian official as saying.

India and China share a 3,500 km border, over which they went to war in 1962 and which remains unresolved despite more than 20 rounds of talks.

The border has been largely peaceful, but there have been occasional stand-offs between soldiers from the two Asian giants, who have overlapping territorial claims.

The measures on the table include more border trade, tourism and even joint military patrols to boost trust, the source told Reuters.

“Priority will be given to enhancing confidence-building measures and people-to-people exchanges,” a second government source was quoted as saying.

Modi will take Xi on a tour of the Shore Temple, dating back to the seventh and eighth centuries, and will have several hours of one-to-one talks designed for a free exchange of ideas on issues ranging from territorial disputes to India’s ballooning trade deficit with China and the question of allowing Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei into India’s 5G network.

“Xi will have an in-depth communication with Modi on issues that have overall, long-term and strategic significance on bilateral relations, set the tune and guide the direction for future development of the ties,” Chinese state media quoted Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui as saying.

Xi will be accompanied by top diplomat Wang Yi, while Modi’s team includes Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

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