PHOTOS: Modi's First Day In China Included 'Substantive' Talks, And A Cultural Exchange

14/05/2015 11:28 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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XIAN, CHINA - MAY 14: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a meeting on May 14, 2015 in Xian, Shaanxi province, China. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon - Pool/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first day in China was eventful. While it started with a grand traditional welcome for him, Modi went on to visit several cultural institutions in Xi'an, and gave and received some beautiful presents.

He had "substantive" talks with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, discussing the boundary issue between the two nations. Interestingly, Jinping set aside protocol by receiving Modi — a foreign dignitary — outside Beijing, mirroring a similar move by Modi in September last year when he welcomed the Chinese President in Ahmedabad.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told journalists today that the leaders discussed issues like terrorism, UNSC reforms and India's membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

"On the political side, there was a lot of discussion on strengthening trust and increasing convergence," he said while briefing media on the 90-minute delegation-level talks.

The also talked about trade deficit and ways to address it (currently it is in favour of China) as well as on the investment climate and challenges of reforms, Jaishankar said.

The talks were preceded (and followed) by discussions on India and China's shared cultural history, as well as visits to the Terracota Warriors Museum, Da Xing Shah Temple, and a stunning cultural programme in the evening.

Modi also interacted with some locals, commenting on their enthusiasm and positivity.

  • Twitter/@PMOIndia
    The Prime Minister reached China on Thursday morning to a warm welcome from local artists.
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    One of the first places he was taken to was the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Xi'an.
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    He was shown the exhibits in detail.
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    He posed for several pictures there, calling it a "spectacular visit."
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    Social media went into a frenzy as photos of Modi viewing the exhibits were tweeted out via the PM's official Twitter handle.
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    While Modi appeared to be keenly taking in each of the ancient exhibits, others on social media were more interested in his swag sunglasses.
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    Modi was closely attended by a posse of Chinese officials and security detail.
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    Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP
    The Prime Minister was welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to their meeting in Xi'an, on Thursday afternoon.
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    Modi is visiting China this week to build friendship between the two Asian giants despite a long history of disputes and rivalries, along with some areas of cooperation, especially in the economic sphere.
  • China India
    Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP
    The two leaders held summit-level talks, during which they are expected to discuss a host of issues, including the contentious boundary dispute and China's plans for infrastructure projects in PoK.
  • China India
    Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP
    Narendra Modi, second from left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, are photographed here during a meeting in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, on Thursday, May 14, 2015.
  • Twitter/@PMOIndia
    As the two leaders emerged out of the meeting, Indian foreign secretary Jaishankar said their talks were very substantive.
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    The two leaders then visited Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, where the great Chinese traveller Xuanzang – also known as Hieun Tsang — worked for years to translate the sutras that he brought to China from India.
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    The two leaders exchanged notes at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
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    Modi then went to the Daxingshan Temple.
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    The PM there visited various Halls of the Temple & interacted with monks.
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    "The Daxingshan Temple is beautiful," he tweeted on Thursday.
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    Modi also penned his thoughts after visiting the temple in the visitors book.
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    He left a long message at the Daxingshan Temple.
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    The monks presented Modi with a present. "[I] will always cherish this token of appreciation," tweeted Modi.
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    Huge crowds collected in Xi'an with people as he stopped to interact with them.
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    Modi presented President Xi Jinping with replicas of a stone casket of Buddhist relics and a stone statue of Buddha that were excavated from a 3rd-4th century AD stupa at Dev-ni-Mori – a site 80 kms east of Vadnagar, Gujarat – in 1957.
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    The PM also gifted the Chinese President archaeological drawings of excavations at Vadnagar which was one of the places visited by the great Chinese traveller Xuanzang – also known as Hieun Tsang – around 641 AD.
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    Recent excavations at Vadnagar have revealed a burnt brick structure that has been identified as a Buddhist monastery on the basis of its peculiar plan and the antiquities recovered from it, which include a red sandstone broken head of Buddha.
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    The site is referred to as Anandpur in Xuanzang’s writings and recent excavations point to the existence of a thriving Buddhist centre at Vadnagar way back in 2nd century AD.
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    Later in the evening, the official functions in Xi'an continued.
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    Chinese artists performed for the visiting PM as part of the cultural programme.
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    The programme had both Chinese and Indian influences, celebrating both cultures.
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    Modi called it a "spectacular cultural programme."

(with PTI inputs)

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