Xi’an (China), May 14 (IANS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held “substantive” summit level talks here on Thursday during which the border issue, trade deficit and connectivity issues were discussed.
The two leaders, who held talks at the Shaanxi Guest House for about 90 minutes, later visited the Wild Goose Pagoda together. Modi, who arrived here in the morning, was warmly welcomed by Xi at the guest house and the two leaders shook hands for photographs.
The prime minister said he was humbled by the welcome he received at Xi’an and termed it an honour for 1.25 crore Indians he was representing. Modi, attired in a black bandhgala suit, spoke in Hindi, while Xi spoke in Chinese.
The Chinese president recalled his visit to Ahmedabad in September last year, during which Modi received him and also presented a colourful event for Xi and his wife at the Sabarmati river front, in a break from usual practice.
“You received me very warmly in your hometown. I am very glad to receive you in my hometown,” Xi said. “That left me with deep and good impression,” the Chinese president said. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, briefing the media on the talks, said the two leaders spoke of the need to strengthen cooperation on countering terrorism and strengthening mutual trust.
The talks were on “strengthening trust and increasing convergences”, Jaishankar said. The border issue, especially maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border, were also discussed, he said. The trade deficit and the investment climate came up, as well as connectivity issues, the foreign secretary said.
Xi said it was the first time he was meeting a foreign leader outside Beijing. Jaishankar said the two leaders also discussed sharing information on trans-border rivers. “The talks were wide ranging, and regional, global issues came up. The talks were very substantive and the atmosphere was very comfortable. Both leaders built on the chemistry that started last September during the visit of Xi to India,” he said.
He said the Chinese president spoke of the “miracle of Gujarat” under Modi and said the prime minister was “trying to do it at the national level”. “Terrorism naturally came up,” Jaishankar said, and added that both discussed the need to strengthen anti-terror cooperation. He said there was reference to the terror attack in Kabul and Karachi.
Four Indians were among 14 people killed in a Taliban attack at a guest house in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul overnight on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, at least 45 people were killed and 20 injured in a terror attack in Karachi. “There was talk of Nepal. How India and China responded (to the earthquake),” he said. “UNSC reforms came up and India’s membership of NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) came up,” he added.
Later, Modi and Xi visited the Wild Goose Pagoda, a sacred Buddhist place for worship. Xi took Modi around the pagoda, which was built in 652 A.D. during the Tang dynasty and originally had five storeys. Modi handed over a Bodhi sapling to a priest and lit incense at the Buddhist temple. One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by Buddhist translator and traveller Xuan Zang or Hieun Tsang.