17 Oct 2019

Modi-Xi informal summit

Source: The Hindu

Manifest pedagogy: The relations between India and China have been in news since quite a long time after the Doklam incident.  Personalized diplomacy is playing a key role in propelling the relations . And this summit is definitely a development in that direction. 

In news: Recently China President Xi Jinping visited India for 2nd informal summit between the two countries.

Placing it in syllabus: India-China bilateral relations


  • What is the importance?
  • Important issues discussed and agreements arrived.
  • How is the informal summit helpful?

Content: What is the importance of the visit?

Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping in Mamallapuram by giving a very subtle message of India being as old a civilisation as China which Beijing needs to be mindful of while dealing with India.

Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu was chosen as the venue for the second informal summit between India and China, as the town had trade and cultural links with Quanzhou, a port city in Fujian province where Xi once served as governor.

In Quanzhou, recently, evidence of trade links with Tamilnadu (Pallava and Chola dynasties) that existed almost 1,400 years ago was unearthed. Tamil inscriptions and fragments of architecture reflecting a possible temple built by Tamil traders in the 12th century have been discovered. 

There was a reference to Bodhi-Dharma who had left the shores of India from Tamil Nadu and went by sea and took Zen Buddhism to China and Japan. 

The first summit was held in Wuhan, China, in April, 2018. During the second summit, both leaders held “heart-to-heart” and “candid discussions like friends”. Building on the ‘Wuhan spirit’, PM Modi spoke of the “Chennai connect” for a new era of cooperation between India and China.

President Xi has urged both countries to take the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in 2020 as an opportunity to conduct broader and deeper cultural and people-to-people exchanges and has invited PM Modi to visit China for the 3rd Informal Summit to be held next year.  

Important issues discussed and agreements arrived:

President Xi assured that China will take concrete measures to reduce the massive trade deficit ($57 billion) between India and China. China is India’s largest trading partner while India is China’s 11th largest trading partner. Between 2017-18, India’s exports to China rose by $2.5 billion where as China’s imports in India rose by $50 billion.

The Chinese side has apparently proposed to set up a high-level mediation channel to take actionable steps on India’s legitimate trade concern which will be headed by the Chinese Vice Premier and Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

China also assured to address India’s concerns in negotiations for the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), security cooperation and additional confidence building measures to maintain peace on border.

The Indian embassy in Beijing announced a five-year tourist e-visa with multiple entry facility for Chinese travellers which would further enhance people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and promote Indian tourism.

There were also talks about the need for enhancing defence cooperation, as now it is largely limited to training, joint exercises and other professional interactions. The two leaders agreed to work together to deal with the challenge of terrorism.

How is the informal summit helpful?

  • It helps maintain stability in relations even in the face of a naturally competitive relationship between the two neighbours. 
  • Promotes deeper strategic communication, more effective practical cooperation and pave the way for more diverse people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
  • Helps in building a rules-based global trading system.
  • The free flowing nature of the informal summit will continue and deepen contacts at the highest level and guide the future trajectory of India-China relationship.
  • As both China and India are members of multilateral mechanisms such as China-Russia-India Trilateral, BRICS, SCO and G20, and share common interests in promoting globalization and opposing trade protectionism, such informal summits inject new impetus into the development of bilateral relations.
  • The wisdom from the two countries’ ancient and profound civilizations can provide inspiration for solving various regional and global challenges.