Looking to reset the India-China relationship, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping on Friday took the ‘Wuhan spirit’ forward during their seaside rendezvous at Mamallapuram, near Chennai. The two-day second ‘informal summit’ comes 18 months after the first summit, in the scenic central Chinese city of Wuhan, in April 2018.

Modi, sporting a traditional white dhoti and an angavastram, welcomed President Xi at Mamallapuram. The bonhomie between them was evident as they walked together through the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage sites: Arjuna’s Penance; Five Rathas; Krishna’s Butter Ball and the Shore Temple. Modi was seen explaining various aspects of the monuments to Xi.

At the Shore Temple, the two leaders were treated to dance performances by students of Kalakshetra on the pacifist theme ‘ Shanthi Nilava Vendum’ (Let peace prevail), followed by dinner hosted by Modi.

Officials remained tight-lipped on the summit agenda, but said that the six hours the two leaders will spend together during the two days should be seen as a confidence-building measure, especially after the recent discordant note struck by China’s public articulation of its position on India’s recent revocation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

On Saturday, the two leaders will have a private meeting, followed by bilateral meetings. The discussion is likely to focus on easing the decades-old boundary tensions between the countries. . Bilateral trade is also expected to feature in the discussion. India would like greater access to the Chinese market for its products, to balance the trade, which now heavily favours China..

Raveesh Kumar, Official Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted: “The two leaders would exchange views on a range of subjects unrestricted by a set agenda.” On Saturday, a release will be issued by both sides separately, but in a coordinated manner.

Earlier on Friday, arriving in Chennai at 11.20 am, Modi tweeted, “May this Informal Summit further strengthen ties between India and China.” Xi arrived at 2 pm, accompanied by a 100-strong delegation.