NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Wuhan, China for an “informal’ summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping from April 27 to 28.
Announcing this on Sunday in Beijing at a joint press conference after talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the two sides had reached a ‘broad-based consensus on high level interactions and cooperation between China and India.’
“First of all, the minister and I would like to share some very important news. As agreed between the two sides, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have an informal summit from 27 to 28 of April in Wuhan, Hubei province,” he said. “The two leaders will have discussions of a strategic nature concerning the once-in-a-century shifts going on in the world. They will also exchange views on overarching strategic matters concerning the future of China-India relations.” This will be Modi’s fourth visit to China since assuming office in 2014.
He is expected to visit again to take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in June. Noting that the the global situation is undergoing a profound change, Wang said, “China and India are natural partners in cooperation. Our common interests far outweigh our differences, and the two countries have no choice other than to pursue everlasting friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and a common development.”
“We see socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a new era. India is at a crucial stage in its development and revitalisation. It is against this backdrop that President Xi and PM Modi have decided to hold the informal summit. The summit will go a long way towards deepening the mutual trust between the two neighbours,” he said. “We agreed that as two major countries and large emerging economies, healthy development of India-China relations is important for the emergence of an Asian century,” Swaraj said, adding that the commonalities outweigh the differences.
“We must build on our convergences while seeking mutually acceptable resolution of differences,” she said. “Notice that Wang kept stressing on the word informal while describing the summit,” an Indian official said, regarding the Chinese minister’s statement. “This is significant as it implies that the two sides will be able to dispense with the formalities and semantics associated with formal meetings, and get down to real business of conflict resolution and cooperation.”