Xi-Modi meeting to sustain momentum of improvement in ties

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/23 21:48:40

The meeting between Chinese and Indian leaders this weekend is expected to be a landmark move to sustain the good momentum of significant yet fragile bilateral relations, Chinese observers said Monday.

President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold an informal summit on Friday and Saturday in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province.

Compared with formal meetings, an informal meeting focuses more on practical, urgent and significant issues, Long Xingchun, a professor of Indian Studies at China West Normal University, told the Global Times on Monday.

Xi and Modi will exchange views on overall, long-term and strategic issues regarding China-India relations in an in-depth manner, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily briefing on Monday. The meeting will guide the two countries toward setting new goals and open up new prospects for bilateral ties, Lu said.

How to promote economic cooperation between the two largest developing countries amid the US-driven anti-globalization trend, and new mechanisms to safeguard peace and avoid border disputes will likely be on the agenda, said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies' Center for Asia-Pacific Studies.

The rise of unilateralism and protectionism has raised international concern, while both China and India support an open, inclusive, balanced and win-win direction for globalization, Lu said.

The visit to Wuhan will be Modi's fourth to China as prime minister.The most recent meeting between Xi and Modi was held in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province last September after the ninth BRICS summit.

Modi could also be given a tour of the water facilities in Hubei, home to the Three Gorges Dam, Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times.

The visit will help create a friendly atmosphere for the forthcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in China in June, experts said. Modi is expected to attend the summit, the first SCO meeting after India joined the SCO last year.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is in China for the SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting on Tuesday, while Indian Defense Minister Niramala Sitharaman is also scheduled to attend the SCO defense ministers' meeting on Wednesday, India Express reported.

Frequent interactions between the two countries' senior officials show that both sides attach great importance to maintaining the hard-won friendly momentum and preventing possible conflicts, Zhao said.

The two sides agree that any new crisis, be it new border disputes or issues challenging China's core interests such as moves from the Dalai Lama clique, will ruin bilateral ties, he added.

Last month, India banned a rally organized by the Dalai Lama's group in New Delhi.

The two sides may also exchange views on practical economic and people-to-people exchanges, which have remained positive despite a period of political tensions, Zhao said.

Not a pawn

As India moves toward greater global influence, it also becomes a strategic part of the US' agenda to contain China's influence in the Asia-Pacific region, experts said.

However, India should stay clear and independent to avoid being used as a pawn, Hu warned.

If India follows the US plan and makes substantial moves to contain China, India will place itself on the opposite of the Asia-Pacific security system and become an open enemy for China and Russia, Zhao said.

Newspaper headline: Summit of Xi, Modi will sustain good momentum

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