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Kashmir pitch may not define talks in Modi-Xi summit in Mamallapuram


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Chennai:

NEW DELHI: India and China may not see eye-to-eye on Kashmir but the issue is unlikely to overshadow Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Mamallapuram for the second informal summit meeting, with Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong even emphasizing that the “two countries pose no threat” to each other.

In an interview to a news agency on the eve of Xi’s visit, Sun said: “We believe that the summit will take bilateral relations to a higher level.” The Indian side did not issue any statement except announcing the schedule of the two-day meeting, which will begin with a guided tour of three monuments, a cultural programme followed by a dinner where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host for Xi. The substantive part will be on the second day, when the two leaders will have a one-on-one meeting followed by delegation level talks.

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Most retired diplomats and experts said there was no need for India to read too much into the Chinese statements on Kashmir after Xi’s meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Beijing on Wednesday. “It is disappointing that people give emphasis to issues on which India and China do not see eye-to-eye. Kashmir is one such issue, but the leaders are mature enough to put it behind them and have cooperative discussions,” said Kishan Rana, a former Ambassador and visiting fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies here.

A research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University said China has been an all-weather ally of Pakistan but it also realises that India is an important regional partner. “Both realise that there is no need for publicity when it comes to bilateral issues and they will not let one issue hamper their potential to work together,” he said.

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Another China watcher, however, disagreed. “The statement favouring India was given by the foreign ministry while the one against was issued by the Chinese President himself. This is indication enough of how important Kashmir is for them,” said a Sino-India relations research scholar at the Indian Council for World Affairs.

Leaving nothing to chance

Every street has been occupied by the police and movement of locals is being closely monitored. Locals have been asked to carry Aadhaar or any other identity proof while stepping out of home

Lower courts adjourned

Lower courts in Chennai have adjourned cases till Saturday since the bulk of the city’s police force is on security duty at Mahabalipuram.

All ready for the big show

Mamallapuram is all decked up for its tryst with history. Roads have been renovated, new signages erected and all public property painted.  A Buddha statue has been placed near the shore temple. Work on wooden walkways too is over.