Modi considers inviting Xi to Varanasi

Published May 30, 2019
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be swinging on the diplomatic trapeze as soon as he takes charge today. ─ AFP/File
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be swinging on the diplomatic trapeze as soon as he takes charge today. ─ AFP/File

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be swinging on the diplomatic trapeze as soon as he takes charge on Thursday, according to media reports.

One of the reports said Mr Modi had decided to invite Chinese President Xi Jinping to Varanasi in October. He is also expected to meet Mr Xi in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, next month during the Shanghai club summit and soon afterwards possibly receive US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Delhi.

Later he is likely to meet President Donald Trump in Osaka, Japan, at the G20 summit.

All this would be happening with the Gulf crisis swirling in the background and a Sino-US business spat threatening to spiral out of control.

Closer home he has invited a clutch of South Asian and Asean leaders to his swearing-in ceremony on Thursday (today).

“The choice of Varanasi is because Modi wants to invite Xi to his parliamentary constituency, just like the Chinese president had hosted him in Xiamen for the BRICS summit where he had made a mark as a Communist Party office-bearer almost 30 years ago,” the Indian Express said.

India has proposed that the next informal summit between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping be held on Oct 11 in Varanasi, according to the newspaper.

The Chinese side is learnt to have conveyed to India that they are considering the proposal positively, it said.

The first informal summit between the two leaders took place in the Chinese city of Wuhan in April last year.

The two leaders then spent two days at a lakeside guest house and held discussions for almost 10 hours.

More detailed discussions are expected to take place when the two leaders meet in Bishkek on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit on June 13-14.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2019

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