PM Modi-Xi Summit: Why Mamallapuram Sends A Deep Historical Message

General News

The venue of the summit, the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram is significant as it has strong trade and cultural links with China's Fujian province.

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Chennai to a grand welcome on Friday, ahead of his informal bilateral meet with PM Modi. A brief cultural ceremony was organised to welcome the visiting leader. A large number of artists lined up at the airport waving colourful flags, beating drums and dancing to traditional music to welcome the influential Chinese leader. 

The venue of the summit, the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram, about 50 km from the Tamil Nadu capital, is significant as it has strong trade and cultural links with China's Fujian province. Here's the significance of the venue chosen for the historic Xi Jinping- PM Modi meet- 

  • The four iconic that PM Modi and the Chinese President are expected to visit in Mamallapuram, depict that India has always played a central civilization role in global trade and commerce. 
  • The historic monuments in Mamallapuram, that would be visited on Friday are all 1300 years old. But they are not museums but are living monuments. Apart from showing India's civilizational heritage shows our ability to live in harmony with nature.
  • The ability to live in harmony with nature is also reflected by the monuments themselves. For instance, while there are 20 scenes of animals at Arjun's Penance, not one depicts hunting or violence. This reflects the spirit of mutual harmony and peaceful co-existence that embodies Indian culture and civilization.
  • The cultural performance scheduled for Friday evening in Mamallapuram will reflect India’s cultural richness and diversity. The function has been put together by India’s premium Cultural Group-Kalakshetra that was set up by Ms. Rukmani Devi Arundale in 1936.

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PM Modi-Xi Jinping meet

Xi Jinping is accompanied by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi. Both are scheduled to hold separate talks with their Indian counterparts  S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Officials on both sides said the focus of the Modi-Xi summit would be to insulate bilateral trade and development cooperation between the emerging economic powerhouse from differences on Kashmir and the vexed boundary issue.

Notwithstanding the strained ties, the state and the central government agencies have left no stone unturned to accord a warm and grand welcome to Xi. This temple town has been decorated with flowers and colourful lights and historical sites to be visited by the Chinese leader have been spruced up. The two leaders will hold talks at the 7th century Shore Temple complex overlooking the Bay of Bengal in Mamallapuram in an informal setting in the evening without aides or any agenda with a focus on charting a new roadmap for the overall expansion of ties.

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Ahead of the two-day summit, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong told PTI that a new set of consensus including guiding principles on giving a new direction to the bilateral ties is expected from engagement. Xi Jinping's visit comes two days after he held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Bejing.

A China-Pakistan joint statement issued after talks said China is paying close attention" to the situation in Kashmir and that the issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter.

The comments angered India as it asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and China is well aware of New Delhi's position. Officials said there will be at least five occasions when Modi and Xi will have opportunities to engage on a one-on-one setting on Friday and Saturday.

This is the second edition of the informal summit between Modi and Xi. The first informal between the two leaders was held in the picturesque Chinese lake city of Wuhan in April 2018, months after a 73-day face-off between the armies of the two countries in Doklam tri-junction raised fears of a war between the two Asian giants. At 5 pm, Modi will take Xi to three iconic monuments of Mamallapuram -- Arjuna's Penance, Panch Rathas and the Shore temple. Then the two leaders will witness a cultural programme at the temple complex.

The two leaders will sit together in the lawns of the Shore temple and exchange views on charting a new roadmap of development and cooperation. The prime minister will host a private dinner for Xi at the Shore temple complex. The menu is likely to have a host of sumptuous traditional dishes, officials said. On Saturday, the two leaders will hold one-on-one talks at the Fisherman's Cove resort. This will be followed up by delegation-level talks. After the talks, Modi will host a lunch for Xi, and the Chinese leader will leave for Chennai airport at 12.45 pm, they said.

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(With PTI inputs) 

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