Trade, defence to top agenda at Modi-Xi informal meet on Oct 11-12

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NEW DELHI/BEIJING: Trade, defence, security and stronger people ties besides the larger global scenario will feature prominently in conversations between PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping when they meet for their second informal summit in the historic setting of Mamallapuram in coastal Tamil Nadu on October 11-12.
India and China waited until the proverbial eleventh hour to announce the much-awaited summit between the two leaders, a reflection of the current troughs in the bilateral relationship. It will be up to Modi and Xi to ensure the progress at Wuhan last year is consolidated when they meet for extended discussions.
There will be no outcome documents but both sides will issue separate statements after the summit. As in Wuhan, there is an expectation that the two leaders will issue another set of ‘strategic guidance’ to their respective teams.
Modi will be accompanied by foreign minister S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval, government sources said. Xi will bring with him a high power team of politburo member Yang Jieche and foreign minister Wang Yi, who was made state councillor earlier this year. Xi is expected to travel to Kathmandu after his meeting with Modi
On defence and security, the two sides would be looking to update and add to confidence building measures (CBMs) to maintain “peace and tranquillity” on the border. The two armies are expected to hold the ‘Hand-in-Hand’ exercise later this year.
A meeting of special representatives (Doval and Yang) for boundary talks may be scheduled as a result of the summit. Sources said terrorism would feature prominently in the conversations, though not Kashmir. “Article 370 is a sovereign decision,” a source said.
Taking forward the third country partnership initiative, sources here said India and China, which had started training Afghan diplomats, would expand the exercise to train other civil servants in Afghanistan.
The concept of ‘China-India Plus’ aims to extend the impact of improvement in bilateral relationship to other countries.

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