Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon meet on the seaside resort of Mamallapuram in Chennai for their second informal summit. The two leaders had held their first informal summit in Wuhan, China last year. Among other issues, trade between the two nations is likely to be the main talking point during the two-day meet. PM Modi and Xi are expected to discuss major trade issues concerning India, including trade deficit between India and China, India's concerns over RCEP agreement and security concerns over Huawei's 5G rollout.
After Modi and Xi's last informal summit in Wuhan, both countries have seen a significant improvement in relations. There were minimal confrontations along the border, new trade talks were initiated, and China in the UN condemned the terror attack in Pulwama and reversed its position on Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar. However, both nations saw each other at opposite sides after India's revocation of Article 370 from the Constitution. Through this informal summit, both leaders are likely to try and bury the hatchet to improve overall relations between the two nations.
PM Modi is expected to raise the issue of the $53 billion trade deficit in China's favour. Following the Wuhan summit, India saw some improvement in trade regulations with China allowing tobacco and non-basmati rice imports to China.
Modi-Jinping will also discuss India's concerns around the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal. Trade analysts say the only country that will benefit significantly from India joining the RCEP will be China, and that it could lead to dumping of Chinese products into Indian markets. The meeting is crucial as India is yet to finalise its position before the RCEP talks next week.
The two leaders could also discuss India's security concerns around Chinese tech equipment maker Huawei, which aims to roll out 5G technology in India. Though India seems keen on allowing Huawei to launch 5G services in India -- it has allowed the company to demonstrate the technology in a conference in Delhi next week -- it's concerned over allegations of the Chinese government using Huawei for spying. However, optimists say there's no "concrete evidence" against Huawei. Huawei is a global leader when it comes to 5G networks. It owns over 20 per cent of the 5G patents and has grabbed 50 commercial contracts all over the world.
Huawei India Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jay Chen had said in June the company was okay if the Indian government wanted to sign a "no backdoor" pact so as to ensure it's not used for "malicious purposes". Xi could also raise the issue of India's opposition to his pet project, Belt and Road Initiative, and speeding up of road and communication projects along the the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) route.
Edited by Manoj Sharma