Jubilant mood prevails as Modi, Xi meet
In the backdrop of the seventh century monument of Pancha Ratha, overlooking the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday took a stroll and sipped fresh coconut water in a relaxed informal setting, creating positive atmospherics in bilateral ties strained over the Kashmir issue.
Mamallapuram: In the backdrop of the seventh century monument of Pancha Ratha, overlooking the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday took a stroll and sipped fresh coconut water in a relaxed informal setting, creating positive atmospherics in bilateral ties strained over the Kashmir issue.
Dressed in a Tamil attire of Veshti (dhoti), white shirt and an angavastram, Modi played the perfect host and took Xi for a guided tour of the famous world heritage sites of Arjuna's Penance, Krishna's Butterball, the Pancha Ratha and Shore temple.
The Prime Minister explained to the Chinese leader the historical significance of the monuments and Xi, wearing a white shirt and black trouser, was seen showing keen interest in the seventh century monuments built during the Pallava dynasty in this coastal town which had historical links with China's Fujian province.
Modi and Xi, assisted by one translator from each side, sat down for around 15 minutes at Pancha Ratha complex, an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture and engaged in intense talks while sipping coconut water - images reflecting warmth in personal chemistry between the two leaders of two emerging economies.
From Pancha Ratha, the two leaders visited the beautifully lit-up Shore temple - a symbol of cultural heritage of the Pallava dynasty. After spending some time together, Modi and Xi were joined by top delegates of both sides.
Minutes later, the two leaders witnessed a cultural performance on the backdrop of the Shore temple. Earlier, Xi arrived in Chennai to a red carpet welcome for his second informal summit with Modi amid a realisation a lot is riding on the bilateral ties strained over hardline approach on the Kashmir issue by both sides.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister E K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri welcomed the Chinese leader at the Chennai airport on his nearly 24-hour visit.
"Welcome to India, President Xi Jinping!" Modi tweeted, shortly after the Chinese leader arrived on an Air China Boeing 747 aircraft, accompanied by a 90-member delegation including Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Polit Bureau member of Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party Ding Xuexiang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.
A brief cultural ceremony reflecting Tamil Nadu's cultural heritage was organised at the airport to welcome the visiting leader.
Shortly after Xi's aircraft touched down in Chennai, government sources said the two leaders are expected to issue some directions at the end of the summit on Saturday as they did after the first edition of new format of engagement in Chinese city of Wuhan last year.
On Saturday morning, Modi and Xi will have a comprehensive one-on-one meeting to be followed by delegation level talks. Both sides will, then, issue separate statements on outcome of the summit.