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Trade, terror figure in Modi-Xi talks
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Trade, terror figure in Modi-Xi talks

S Murari

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed concern over the issues of terrorism and radicalisation in the nearly five hours they spent together in Mahabalipuram, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in a late-night briefing in New Delhi on Friday.

"The two leaders held detailed discussions on their respective national vision," said Gokhale. They also discussed trade-related issues, including how to enhance bilateral trade volume. "They deliberated on the trade deficit and identified investment areas."
Gokhale said the issue of terror was discussed as well.

He said:"Both countries are diverse and radicalisation is a matter of concern that should not impact the society'. The Foreign Secretary quoted President Xi as saying that he was looking forward to working with PM Modi on all issues."

Both leaders "share a very personal rapport", as seen from their interactions during the temple tour of Mamallapuram on Friday evening. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, who was also present at the joint briefing where no questions were taken, said Modi and Xi concluded a "highly productive day with a pleasant conversation over a long dinner". The two leaders continued their exchange of views on deepening of the India-China partnership, he said in a tweet.

"The free-flowing nature of the informal summit at the UNESCO world heritage site will continue and deepen contacts at the highest level and guide the future trajectory of India-China relationship," Kumar earlier said in another tweet. Modi and Xi assisted by one translator from each side, sat down for around 15 minutes at the Pancha Ratha complex, an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture, and engaged in casual talks while sipping coconut water - images reflecting warmth in personal chemistry between the two leaders of two emerging economies. From there, the two visited the beautifully lit-up Shore temple - a symbol of cultural heritage of the Pallava dynasty.

After spending time together, Modi and Xi were joined by top delegates of both sides and all of them witnessed a cultural programme presented by Kalakshetra society.
After the event, Modi hosted Xi for a private dinner at the Shore temple complex. Eight delegates from each side were also invited for the dinner and they sat in tables set up a little away from those of Xi and Modi's. Delicately selected authentic Tamil cuisines, including vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, were served.

On Saturday morning, Modi and Xi will have a comprehensive one-on-one meeting to be followed by delegation level talks. Both sides will then issue separate statements on outcome of the summit.