13/10/2019 9:14 AM IST

Optics Were Great, But What Did PM Modi-Xi Jinping Discuss During Summit?

The two leaders did not "raise or discuss" the Kashmir issue, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said.

The optics of both the informal summits between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping — Wuhan and Chennai — were great. From an hour-long boat ride last year to sipping some coconut water in Mamallapuram. 

And pictures are proof:  

PM Modi and Chinese President Xi at the ‘five chariots’ at Mamallapuram.
PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Krishna's butterball during the Chennai summit. 

Ahead of the summit, some expected Modi to bring up the Kashmir issue with the Chinese President and reiterate his government’s position that Kashmir is an internal matter for India (see here and here). Before coming to India, Xi Jinping had met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and said China is paying “close attention” to the situation in Kashmir

However, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that Modi and Xi did not discuss Kashmir. “Kashmir issue was not raised or discussed during the deliberations,” he said and added that the Chinese President briefed Modi about Khan’s visit to Beijing earlier in the week.

Xi Jinping said that both the leaders had “heart-to-heart, candid discussions like friends”.

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What exactly did Modi and Xi Jinping discuss? 

Modi and Xi Jinping discussed taking bilateral relations to greater heights and decided to “prudently manage our differences, and not allow them to become disputes”.

Apart from this, India and China agreed to set up a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism to boost trade and better balance the trade between the two countries. The mechanism would include Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and China’s Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua, reported The Hindu.  

China, according to PTI, also assured to address India’s concerns in negotiations for the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), security cooperation and additional confidence building measures to main peace on border.

A new era of cooperation will start between India and China with the ‘Chennai Connect’, Prime Minister Modi said on Saturday. “The ‘Chennai Connect’ will add great momentum to India-China relations and will benefit the people of our nations and the world,” the Prime Minister tweeted

President Xi invited Modi to visit China for the third informal summit and Modi has accepted the invitation, PTI reported.

The MEA, in a press release, said that two leaders have decided to designate 2020 as Year of India-China Cultural and People to People Exchanges. They have also agreed to organise 70 activities, including a conference on a ship voyage that will trace the historical connect between the two civilizations, to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Further, sister-state relations will be established between Tamil Nadu and Fujian Province, exploring the possibility of establishing an academy to study links between Mahabalipuram and Fujian province.

The press release also said that the two leaders were concerned that terrorism continues to pose a common threat. They recognised the importance of continued joint efforts to ensure that the international community strengthens the framework against training, financing and supporting terrorist groups throughout the world and on a non-discriminatory basis.

(With PTI inputs)