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Strategic Dialogue between Xi and Modi Substantive, Warm, and on Highest Level

Oct. 11, 2019 (EIRNS)—India gave a warm welcome to Chinese President Xi Jinping, when he arrived in Chennai, capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, on Oct. 11 for two days of meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A traditional Tamil dance greeted him on the runway; Chinese national flags hung at the airport; and crowds of young Indians welcomed him, waving little flags and shouting, “We love China!” Modi tweeted before it began: “May this Informal Summit further strengthen ties between India and China.”

This second “informal summit” of the leaders of Asia’s two giants is organized similarly to the first in April 2018 in Wuhan, China: no agreements are to be signed, no joint statement issued, no press conference to be held, leaving the two leaders free to discuss all issues they choose in one-on-one meetings in a relaxed setting, interspersed with tours of nearby historic sites. The Wuhan summit is credited with putting strategic collaboration between the “Dragon and the Elephant” back on track.

According to the summary of India heads of government n Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s briefing provided by India’s Economic Times, the two leaders held nearly five hours of discussions the first day. “They spent quality time. Most of it was one-to-one except for the half-hour at the cultural program.... President Xi said he was overwhelmed by the welcome at the airport and during his stay in Chennai.”

The two discussed various periods of close ties between the two civilizations, such as the trading links between Tamil Nadu and eastern parts of China during the Pallava and Chola dynasties of the 6th and 7th centuries.

The report on Gokhale’s briefing continued:

“Discussions over dinner stretched over 150 minutes, which was well over scheduled time. Both leaders shared their visions. President Xi said he looked to work closely with Prime Minister Modi on all issues.... There was some discussion on trade-related and economic issues, and how to enhance the trade volume and the trade value. It also included the issue of the trade deficit that exists and the unbalanced trade that exists. Some of the other topics included the challenges that both countries face on account of terrorism, that radicalization is matter of concern for both, and both would work together to see that radicalization and terrorism did not affect the fabric of our societies.”

The cultural underpinning of such real diplomacy is exemplified in Economic Times’ report on the cultural event for Xi held at the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram, where “a Tamil song hailing peace and Mahatma Gandhi was sung to the accompaniment of traditional dance....” The old Tamil classical song “Shanti nilava vendum (Let Peace Prevail)” advocates for “peace everywhere and building spiritual strength, saying it is the diktat of Mahatma Gandhi,” and promotes “lofty ideals like compassion and unity.”

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