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China’s Xi Jinping heads to India for high-level talks with Narendra Modi


China’s Xi Jinping heads to India for high-level talks with Narendra Modi

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Photo: HT

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Mamallapuram, India, today for a two-day informal summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The leaders will focus on bilateral future trade deals, connectivity projects and trust-building military exercises.

Tensions continue to linger between India and China over the latter’s increasing inroads in South Asia under its Belt and Road Initiative, most notably with Indian-rival Pakistan.

The summit may sidestep ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir. Still, New Delhi has expressed concern over further business ties between the two counties following Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing earlier this week. Likewise, India has protested the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Indian-claimed Kashmiri territory.

Xi’s visit will likely see concrete discussions over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership—a proposed free trade agreement among 16 countries, including China and India—and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum, a regional trade and investment bloc. Beijing says it seeks to emphasise the importance of economic cooperation rather than focus on areas of contention. However, with those areas of contention carrying significant weight for India, it remains to be seen what progress can be made on the economic front.

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