An artist in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu has carved the images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on a watermelon to welcome the two world leaders. Elanchezhian, who specialises in carving and creating artworks from fruits and vegetables carved out the images of the two leaders as a mark of welcome for the Chinese leader.
The Chinese President will arrive into Tamil Nadu on Friday afternoon on his maiden two-day visit. At around 4 pm, he will travel by road to Mahabalipuram to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders are scheduled to view the world-famous stone carvings there on Friday and Saturday. Elanchezhian, who hails from Gudulur in Theni district, about 600 km from Mahabalipuram, has also carved the words "Welcome to India" in Chinese with the help of his Taiwanese friend.
Xi Jinping is scheduled to have a second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Mamallapuram near Chennai on October 11 and October 12. The summit comes at a time that China has made a U-turn on its position on Kashmir, which came as a big snub to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who visited India's northern neighbour just last week. Pakistan's 'all-weather friend', which had until this point supported it in its attempts to bring Kashmir up on international fora, has now called Kashmir a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Mamallapuram also has a long history with China, as it lies against the Bay of Bengal which goes on to connect with the South China sea. Over the millennia, there has been significant maritime connect over this route.
China has highlighted the importance of this meeting by calling it an opportunity of “friendship” and “strategic guidance” for both the nations which have been old trading partners. In a tweet, the Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said: “Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit India from October 11th to 12th for the 2nd Informal Summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Chennai. Hope their Strategic guidance and friendship will usher China-India ties into a new chapter.”