Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will try to reach important consensus to resolve outstanding issues and build mutual trust when they meet for an informal summit in Wuhan in China later this week, a top Chinese official said tuesday.
In New Delhi, sources said the meeting will not have an “issue-based discussion but a strategic conversation between the two leaders to understand each other’s perspective on national and international matters”. They were asked if the contentious issues like India’s NSG membership bid and China blocking designation of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN will be raised during the meeting on April 27-28.
Sources also maintained that the summit was not aimed at “resetting” India-China ties.
Briefing reporters in Beijing, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said, “both sides have agreed not to sign an agreement or release any joint document but reach important consensus to resolve outstanding issues.”
This informal summit is the first of its kind and there is no precedent in each other’s country, he said, explaining why both the leaders opted to hold the summit.
“At the informal summit, the two leaders will have heart-to-heart discussions on overarching issues and try to build mutual trust and consensus to resolve outstanding differences,” Kong said.
Asked whether the Dokalam issue and the boundary dispute will figure in the talks, Kong said Dokalam happened because of lack of trust.
“The two countries need to create conditions and trust between them to resolve the boundary issue,” he added.
Kong said both President Xi and Prime Minister Modi have strategic vision and historical responsibility.
“Both of them have been widely supported by their people. Both leaders have attached great importance to India-China relationship and have devoted a lot of energy to grow this relationship.
“Over the past few years they met 10 times, visited each other’s capitals and home towns. They also met at multilateral occasions,” he said, adding that every time they had very good talks and reached important consensus.
At the informal summit, they will have strategic communication on the major changes in the international landscape unseen in more than 100 years. They will have in-depth exchange of views on the issues of overarching long-term and strategic importance in the bilateral relations, he said.
Such exchange of views will deepen the mutual trust between the two countries, set the direction and set objectives for the further growth of bilateral ties. It will also open up new prospects in China-India cooperation. Such informal summit will not only benefit the two countries and peoples but will also deliver peace and development in the region and beyond, he said.
Over the past few days and months competent authorities of both the countries have carried out intense engagement with each other about the upcoming informal summit to work together for a sound momentum in the India-China relations.
“It is fair to say that this informal summit has already played an important role in driving India-China relations.
“Both sides also agreed that after the summit the two sides will implement important consensus reached at the meeting, maintain high level exchanges, have institutional engagements deepen cooperation, properly handle differences, step up multilateral cooperation and coordination so as to ensure that the China-India relationship will see better and fast development at a new starting point,” he said.
Kong said Modi will stay in a most comfortable place in Wuhan.
“The Chinese side will provide some unique arrangements. Some arrangements will go beyond even the expectations of the Indian side,” he said.
“I can’t release (the details) because of security reasons. The two leaders will spend two days in Wuhan. In this two days, they will engage with other on various forums. What I can tell you here is that they will spend a lot of time together one-on-one,” he said.
“This kind of one-on-one is not often seen in other countries. Relevant information will be released in a detailed and timely manner,” he added.
“Leaders in the past met in multilateral occasions, 30 minutes or one hour. Those meetings are important but personally speaking the meetings on the multilateral occasions are more ceremonial meetings,” he said.
“So in this contest, both Indian and Chinese sides thought about the new format. This time we will make the first attempt to hold the informal summit. I am confident that with the joint efforts of both sides the new format will deliver to the expectations,” he said.
When asked if the summit will be a one-off meeting or will be a regular event, sources in New Delhi said it will be decided after the meeting but indicated that it may be regular feature.
They also said that the summit was finalised as there was a realisation that there was a need for increased communication. PTI