New Delhi: In the first ‘informal’ meeting of the ‘Heart to Heart summit’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told President Xi Jinping that India’s proud that China’s President came out of Beijing – twice – to receive him on his visits to China.
In a press interaction after arriving at a state guest house near the East Lake in picturesque Wuhan in central China, Modi also invited Xi to India and told him that India and China “have the responsibility to work for 40% of the world population” and therefore it’s imperative they work together.
Xi reciprocated PM Modi’s sentiments when he said that together India and China “need to make a strong contribution to global peace and development”
Modi was full of praise for the Chinese leader, in what is their first set of meetings since last July’s bitter border skirmish between the two countries in Doklam.
“Very positive environment (has been) created through the informal summit and you have personally contributed to it in a big way. It’s a sign of your affection for India that you have hosted me twice in China outside Beijing. The people of India feel really proud that I’m the first Prime Minister of India, for whom, you have come out of the capital twice to receive me,” said Modi to Xi.
With the rise of increased economic and trade protectionism and strident inward-looking nationalism in the West, the two giant nations of India and China can indeed show the rest of the world the way, and Xi and Modi emphasised that.
“India and China acted as engines for global economic growth for 1600 years out of the past 2000 years,” said Modi.
Earlier today, at what’s the favourite holiday spot of Mao Zedong in Wuhan, Modi met China’s President Xi Jinping for the absolute first time since the Doklam border crisis in what is being described in Chinese state media as a “surprise diplomatic initiative”.
The two leaders met at Hubei Provincial Muslim where Xi was waiting to welcome the PM at the end of a long red carpet. Modi alighted from his vehicle and walked towards the waiting Chinese Premier with his arm outstretched to shake hands with Xi. The two shook hands for several minutes, then Modi was accorded a grand welcome with a cultural programme, and after that he two leaders sat down to chat.
“I’m very happy to meet PM Modi. Spring is a good time to meet,” said Xi, in a brief interaction in front of the press before the two leaders went into a huddle.
In turn, PM Modi thanked Xi for the warm welcome, and had appreciative words about China’s infrastructure.
“Grateful for the warm welcome, impressed by China’s infrastructure, China’s power projects are unique”, said the PM.
Later today, Xi and Modi will have a one-on-one dinner at the state guest house on the banks of the famous East Lake. East Lake is one of the largest urban freshwater lakes in China and a Xi-Modi meeting on its banks will be reminiscent of Modi’s dinner date with Xi on the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad in 2014.
“The culture of both India and China is based along the river banks, if we talk about the Mohenjo Daro and Harappa civilizations in India, all the development happened along river banks,” Modi said.