CHENNAI: Chennai, which is hosting the informal summit between India and China, is likely to gain from the historic event as there can be an announcement on the long-pending Chennai-New Delhi high speed rail link, according to Srikanth Kondapalli, professor of Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The professor, who was part of the strategic panel discussion on Unique 2nd Informal Modi-Xi Jinping Summit organised by Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) and Sastra Deemed University, said the focus will be more on the high-speed rail project worth $66 million and the project could be till new Delhi or limited till Nagpur. He said there have been safety issues involved in the high-speed rail project. As such a Memorandum of Understanding was not signed.
The proposal of having high-speed rail link was made nearly three years ago but it could not progress except that a feasibility study was conducted by a Chinese rail company. China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network, with 22,000 km within the country linking various top cities.
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The professor said the talks may also focus on smart city initiatives for Chennai in water, drainage and other areas. There can also be an announcement pertaining to signalling facilities for Indian railways. Kondapalli said the informal summit provides maneuverability and flexibility. He said there cannot be an instant resolution of issues. The talks will also focus on strategic communication between the two leaders, new confidence-building measures, border stability and reducing trade deficit between the two countries.
He also rubbished the Chinese claim of United States trying to contain China. He said no country can contain any nation. He said both the nations have to resolve their issues bilaterally.
Kondapalli said that initially Varanasi was considered as the venue for the informal summit, but a chance has been given to Chennai while highlighting the history of Pallavas and Cholas trade in south china Sea.
TCA Rangachary, a former ambassador and distinguished fellow, VIF, said the focus of the two nations should be that differences do not become disputes. China is being misinformed by Pakistan about Kashmir. Stating that China is doing a balancing act in trying to maintain friendly ties with Pakistan, he said India should take it in its stride.
Arvind Gupta, director of VIF, said Sino-Indian ties is largely divergent but also convergent. The concept of informal summits is innovative and said following the Wuhan summit in China, the desire is to look at new levels of cooperation and prepare a blueprint on it.
3 years in waiting
The proposal of having a high-speed rail link was made nearly three years ago, but it could not progress except that a feasibility study was conducted by a Chinese rail company