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Xi, Modi warm up with 3 pacts
Chinese Prez kicks off 3-day India tour from Ahmedabad, gets rousing reception
Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, September 17
India and China on Wednesday inked three-Gujarat specific pacts shortly after Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off his three-day visit to the country from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home turf.

Xi's rare India tour, coinciding with Modi's 64th birthday, is aimed at ramping up trade and investments. The two sides are also expected to hold discussions on substantive issues, including the contentious border dispute.

The state government rolled out the red carpet for Xi, the first top Chinese leader to visit Gujarat, and his singer wife Peng Liyuan, who arrived in an Air China special aircraft.

The visiting dignitaries were received at the Ahmedabad airport by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. From the airport, Jinping and his 130-strong entourage left for Hotel Hyatt driving through an 18-km festooned route dotted by flags of the two countries. Modi welcomed the Chinese President at the entrance of the hotel and presented a bouquet to him.

The three MoUs were signed in the presence of Modi and Xi. The MoUs include making Guangzhou city in China and Ahmedabad as sister cities, setting up of industrial parks in this state and an agreement between the Guangdong province and the Gujarat Government for development of cultural and social ties between the two provinces, said official sources.

The signing of the MoUs would facilitate engagements between the two countries in various fields with knowledge sharing through delegation visits, institutional meetings and sharing of experiences in areas of mutual interest, they said.

Modi played the perfect host accompanying Xi and his wife on their tour of the city's landmarks, including the tranquil Sabarmati Ashram where he explained its historical significance to the Chinese leader. The PM later escorted Xi on a walk down the Sabarmati riverfront where the dignitaries were treated to a mix of Gujarati tradition and culture through dance forms, including the famous garba.

Xi's visit comes in the middle of a new stand-off in Demchok area of Ladakh with Chinese nomads now reported to have erected tents there with the help of Chinese troops inside Indian territory to protest against an ongoing irrigation canal work.

Modi and Xi, who had a brief one-on-one meeting, will hold extensive talks tomorrow in Delhi following which the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts which will provide for Chinese investments in a range of areas, including railways and industrial parks.

Key border talks today

  • The Chinese President will have extensive discussions with PM Modi on substantive issues, including the contentious border dispute, in New Delhi on Thursday
  • The two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts which will boost Chinese investments in a range of areas, including railways and industrial parks


LAC tension mounts amid Gujarat bonhomie
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 17
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping in Ahmedabad today, the ongoing stand-off between the armies of the two sides along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) escalated further at Chumar in south-eastern Ladakh. The two leaders are slated to hold bilateral talks in New Delhi tomorrow.

The armies were locked in three separate face-offs — with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) opening another front today — along the LAC, the de facto border.

The Army and the PLA played out a game of military one-upmanship at Chumar — located at an altitude of 14,600 feet. Soldiers on both sides were locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball face-off at a mountain pass listed as “R-30”.

Around 40 soldiers on either side were already locked in a face-off at Demchok, around 70 km east of Chumar, over the control of grazing grounds for shepherds. The Chinese side opened another front 2 km from “R-30” today, making it the third such point in the Chumar-Demchok sector.

The two sides held two Brigadier-level flag meetings today. Major General-level officers may meet tomorrow. The Indian security establishment, after a meeting tonight, decided that the Army and the ITBP will hold on to their existing positions in full strength. There are 300 PLA troops at both locations in Chumar.

PLA’s pullback farce

After a Brigadier-level flag meeting on Wednesday morning, the PLA pulled back some of its troops at the face-off point in Chumar. But by sunset, its soldiers were back to their original numbers.



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