By Shuriah Niazi and Deepak Adhikari
NEW DELHI, India / KATHMANDU, Nepal (AA) - As Pakistani prime minister concluded his two-day visit to Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping will embark on a trip to India and Nepal later this week.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in India on a two-day visit starting Friday for an informal summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the southern Chennai city.
The two leaders had their inaugural Informal Summit in Wuhan, China on April 27-28, 2018.
“The Chennai Informal Summit will provide them an opportunity to continue discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues and exchange views on deepening India-China partnership,” said a statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
According to sources, no documents would be signed nor a joint communiqué would be issued as the talks were informal and unstructured.
The meeting came at a time when India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of words since New Delhi revoked special status of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5 and decided to divide the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
"We call on India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and consultation on all issues including Kashmir issue and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with interest of both countries and common aspiration of the world," Xi said.
Experts believe that the meeting between the Chinese president and Indian premier is expected to iron out differences and to improve functional relationship.
“The summit itself is not structured in terms of yielding deliverables […] the two leaders would iron out differences,” said Ajai Shukla, an expert on strategic affairs.
MA Sumbul, a geopolitical analyst, told Anadolu Agency: “The summit will draw new lines in regional politics and will make both countries closer in term of their strategic, economic and political goals. For India, this visit will give an opportunity to balance the relations between East and West,” said.
- Xi’s Nepal visit to boost ties in infrastructure
After his visit to India, Xi will arrive in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on Saturday for a state visit designed to cement the relations between the two countries.
Nepal’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday said Xi will touch down in Kathmandu Saturday and will leave for Beijing the next day.
The visit is the first to Nepal by a Chinese president since 1996 when former President Jiang Zemin visited Kathmandu.
The Chinese leader will meet Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who would also host a banquet to honor the Chinese delegation.
Xi will jointly then chair a delegation-level talks with Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, according to a Nepal’s Foreign Ministry statement.
The two countries are expected sign agreements in the areas of infrastructure, trade and energy.
According to The Hindu, an Indian daily, Nepali Defense Minister Ishwor Pokhrel said that Nepal-China train connectivity is expected to get priority during Xi’s visit to Kathmandu.
“Rail connectivity with China is a burning issue before the Nepali citizens. It’s a topic that both sides are expected to discuss when President Xi arrives here on October 12. The project has several aspects that require detailed top level negotiations,” Pokhrel told The Hindu.
Since Nepal became a signatory to China’s massive infrastructure plan called Belt and Road Initiative in 2017, most projects are likely to come under the initiative.
The current government in Kathmandu, which came to power last year following a landslide victory in polls, is keen to cultivate ties with Beijing to increase trade and transport following an Indian blockade of 2015.