Modi, Xi agree for India, China to work on economic project in Afghanistan to bolster ties

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have given the go-ahead for India and China to carry out a first-of-its-kind joint project in Afghanistan, which would emerge as a symbol of the potential to cooperate, not just compete, in the neighborhood

The two leaders also agree to issue “strategic guidance” to their two militaries, to follow the existing mechanism in place to maintain peace and tranquility in the border. One of the key takeaways was to better use the information-sharing mechanisms that are in place. The Doklam stand-off last year was seen by both sides as evincing a major gap in communication.

On Saturday, Modi and Xi spent several hours in informal consultations, without their aides or delegations, as they walked by the East Lake, shared a boat ride and drank tea, in Wuhan.

Xi told Modi he had arranged several India-themed events in his honor, from Chinese classical singers playing Bollywood songs to a peacock made of sugar displayed on the table where they drank tea.

On Friday, Modi invited Xi for a 2019 summit in India, as the two leaders held wide-ranging informal talks in Wuhan, China.

That was one of the significant immediate takeaways from the extensive interactions on Friday, starting with an intimate museum tour and followed by a dinner at a lakeside state guesthouse.

The two leaders also held more structured talks with their delegations in between. In his opening remarks, Modi invited Xi for another “informal” summit in India in 2019.

“I hope such informal summits become a tradition between both the countries. I’ll be happy if, in 2019, we can have such informal summit in India. This is possibly for the first time that you have met a country’s leader twice outside the capital, Beijing. This is a sign of the importance that you accord to India as a country,” Modi said.

Xi said he hoped the Wuhan summit “opens a new chapter”, and said he hoped to have “many more such summits” with the PM, suggesting how both sides were looking even beyond 2019, with Chinese expectations of a second term for Modi.

The two leaders spent several hours in each others company on Friday, starting with a museum tour, that began with a cultural performance followed by a special exhibition on ancient artifacts, and followed by talks and dinner at the sprawling East Lake state guesthouse.

Officials said talks covered both bilateral and global issues, and the idea was to come up with a long-term vision for the relationship, while shelving recent thorny issues, from the border to China corridor through PoK.

Both leaders in their public remarks spoke of a global vision forties. The PM invoked history, saying India and China had over the past 2,000 years of history, driven global growth for 1,600 of those years. “We have the responsibility to work for 40 percent of the world population. This means trying to successfully get the world rid of many problems. To work together towards this is a big opportunity for us.”

Xi echoed that sentiment and called for both countries to stand for multipolarity and globalization implicit references to China’s current tensions with America.

“China and India are both important engines for global growth and we are central pillars for promoting a multi-polar and globalized world. A good China-India relationship is an important and positive factor for maintaining peace and stability in the world,” Xi said.

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