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Day-2: Kashmir issue not discussed during Modi-Xi informal meet

New Delhi: The closed door private meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping lasted for over an hour at the Taj Fisherman Cove Hotel near Mahabalipuram before they concluded their informal summit in Mahabalipuram, outside Chennai, on Saturday with a “new beginning” for cooperation between the two countries.

Modi said the leaders have decided to “manage their differences prudently” and “will not let them become disputes”. “We had decided to prudently manage differences and not to allow them to become disputes. We had decided that we will be sensitive towards each other’s concerns,” Modi said.

Following last evening’s relaxed atmosphere with a guided tour of the famous monuments of Mahabalipuram and cultural programme, on Saturday held talks on some serious business issues.

Beginning the second day of the informal Summit, Modi received Xi at the Tango Hall in Taj Fisherman’s Cove. Following this one-on-one meeting, they held delegation level talks including top officials.  

Xi said he and Modi had a “heart to heart discussion” on bilateral relations and that the Summit was producing “visible progress” in India-China ties. He commended Modi for taking the initiative to hold these kinds of Summits, saying it was a “good idea”. He said the countries now have “deeper strategic communication”, “more effective practical cooperation” and that they now have “closer cooperation on multilateral occasions”.

They spent nearly five hours together on Friday evening, which was well above the original plan. The personal rapport that had been developed in their previous meetings was visible during the tour of Mahabalipuram, said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, while addressing media.

The two leaders also agreed to enhance cultural tie-ups and knowledge sharing, and also spoke about the ancient trade links that existed between the two nations.

Gokhale said Modi appreciated the efforts of Tamil Nadu Government in organising the event at Mahabalipuram. On his part, Jinping said he was overwhelmed at the welcome reception given to him at the airport and also at the arrangements made by the State government.

Modi also accepted an invitation from Xi to travel to China for their third informal summit.

 “Both leaders said they were large countries, and that radicalisation was a matter of concern to both, and that both would work together. The two leaders also discussed issues pertaining to the trade deficit and how to enhance the trade volume, and tried to identify areas of investments,” Gokhale said.

When asked if the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, regarding the abrogation of Article 370 was discussed by the two leaders, Gokhale denied stating that the issue was not raised and discussed by either. “Our position is anyway very clear that this is an internal matter of India,” he said.

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