(TibetanReview.net, Oct12’19) – Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded their Oct 11-12 informal summit at Mamallapuram in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu by agreeing to manage their differences over border disputes, India’s ballooning trade deficit and China’s close ties with India’s arch rival, Pakistan, reported scmp.com Oct 12. However, Kashmir, one of the biggest sticking points for India, especially in view of China’s recent highly provocative remarks about the issue in favour of Pakistan, was not discussed, reported indiatoday.in Oct 12, citing India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale. The visit saw more arrests of Tibetans for trying to stage protests against Xi.
“This [Kashmir] issue was not raised and not discussed. Our position is anyway very clear that this is an internal matter of India,” Gokhale was quoted as saying. However, Modi and Xi agreed that both countries should work together to deal with challenge of terrorism, he has added.
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The two sides have been positive about the talks between the two leaders.
Modi said during the delegation-level talks held in Taj Fisherman’s Cove in Kovalam on Oct 12 that a new era of cooperation will begin in Sino-India ties through the “Chennai connect”, while assuring that the differences between the two nations will be managed prudently and will not turn into disputes, reported indianexpress.com Oct 12.
“After today’s Chennai Vision, a new beginning will be made for cooperation between the two countries. The Wuhan spirit has given new momentum and trust to our relations,” the report quoted Modi as saying, referring to the two leaders’ previous informal meeting held in China last year.
The report cited Xi as saying the informal summit was a “good idea” and that he had a “heart to heart” conversation with Modi on bilateral ties. “We have deeper strategic communication, more effective practical cooperation,” he was quoted as saying.
He has noted that the idea for the informal summits was put forward by Modi and it was a good idea.
Xi was reported to have invited Modi to China for the next India-China summit.
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Meanwhile, state police detained 15 more Tibetans on Oct 11 from Chennai airport and the ITC Grand Chola where Xi was to stay for planning to hold protests, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Oct 12. They included President Gonpo Dhundup of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) who was leading the planned protests. He shouted “We want freedom,” as he was “wrestled away by six policemen” and pushed into a waiting autorickshaw to be taken away, reported Reuters Oct 11.
Nine of the TYC activists were held in groups of six and three from the airport while six were held ahead of Xi’s arrival at ITC Grand Chola.
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The failure to discuss Kashmir, which is of high concern to India, may reflect the level of inequity in the power and influence between the two sides. Citing C Raja Mohan, an influential foreign affairs commentator, the Reuters report noted that China had pulled way ahead of India after decades of rapid growth and that limited Delhi’s options. He has pointed out that China’s economy was now nearly five times larger than that of India while its annual defence spending four times larger.
“This power imbalance translates into an unpleasant fact on the diplomatic front – that China is under no pressure to please India,” Mohan was quoted as saying in his Indian Express newspaper Column.
Xi Left for Nepal for a two-day state visit to Nepal on Oct 12 after his summit with Modi. Nepal was reported to have imposed tight security restrictions on Tibetans living in the country.
Xi was reported to be expected to announce that China would bear the bulk of the cost of building a railway line between Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and Chinese ruled Tibet’s border town of Kyirong, which is a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects.