New era of cooperation to start between two countries: Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday wrapped up their two-day “informal summit” in the coastal  town of Mamallapuram near Chennai with Modi saying a “new era of cooperation” would start between the two countries.

After around five-and-half hours of one-on-one talks, Modi said at the delegation-level discussion between the two sides that "the Wuhan (the Chinese city where the first informal summit was held in April last year) spirit gave a new momentum and trust to our relations. Today, our Chennai Connect will lead to the start of a new era of cooperation between the two countries."

Xi for his part said their "candid" and "heart-to-heart" discussions on bilateral relations were "in-depth" and "good", noting that maintaining and expanding the Sino-India relations is a firm policy of his government.

The opening remarks by the two leaders at the delegation-level talks are seen as a clear reflection of attempts to recalibrate ties that were strained following India's decision to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

Modi said the Wuhan summit led to increased stability in Sino-India relations as strategic communication increased between the two sides.

Modi said both sides had decided that they “will prudently manage our differences, and not allow them to become disputes, we will remain sensitive about each other's concerns and that our relations will lead to peace and stability across the world.”

The Indian PM also said India and China were global economic powers during most of the last 2000 years and were returning to stage gradually.

Xi said “we have deeper strategic communication, more effective practical cooperation, more diverse people-to-people and cultural exchanges and we have closer cooperation on multilateral occasions.”

"What has happened has proved that we made the right decision to have this kind of informal summit and we can well continue with this form of meeting, the Chinese leader said.

Xi said “Yesterday and early today, Mr Prime Minister, as you said, you and I have engaged in candid discussions as friends. In this heart-to-heart discussions on bilateral relations, we've had really in-depth engagements and good discussions.”

After the talks, Modi tweeted that he had productive deliberations on further improving India-China relations.

The two leaders also took a stroll along the beach front and were seen having an engaging discussion.

Xi left Mamallapuram later wrapping up the nearly 24-hour trip. The Chinese President arrived here in this bustling port city on Friday amid strain in bilateral ties between the two countries after India withdrew Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated the state into two union territories.

 On Friday, Modi and Xi held a two-and-half-hour open and cordial one-on-one discussion over dinner, vowing to jointly combat terrorism and radicalization, and expand bilateral trade and investment. The meeting lasted beyond the scheduled time as both leader touched upon a range of issues over sumptuous local delicacies.

India announced a five-year tourist e-visa with multiple entry facility for Chinese travellers, coinciding with President Xi's visit.

Officials on both sides said the focus of the Modi-Xi summit has been to move forward and chart a new pathway of development notwithstanding sharp differences between the two countries over several contentious issues.

Modi and Xi, “in pursuit of their efforts to further deepen economic cooperation and to enhance their closer development partnership, decided to establish a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism with the objective of achieving enhanced trade and commercial relations as well as to better balance the trade between the two countries,” said an Indian Foreign Ministry statement.

China enjoys a huge trade balance in its favour which India wants to be addressed.

The two leaders also agreed to encourage mutual investments in identified sectors through the development of a manufacturing partnership and tasked their officials to develop this idea.