In Depth

China’s president Xi Jinping makes state visit to India

Xi and Indian PM Narendra Modi face three days of talks and banquets. What will they discuss?

China’s president, Xi Jinping, arrived in Gujarat yesterday for a three-day state visit and bilateral talks with Indian PM Narendra Modi. What will the leaders of the two most populous nations on earth, both nuclear powers and emerging economies, discuss?

What are the main topics?

According to Reuters, railways and border disputes. China has promised to invest as much as $7bn in Indian railways, industrial parks and roads. India is determined to take a tougher stance on repeated incursions across the border by Chinese troops.

Anything else?

In an act of passive-aggressive bureaucratic intransigence, Chinese border officials often refuse to stamp visas on Indian passports for disputed territories and instead staple them. According to Reuters, this “infuriates India” and is sure to be raised for discussion by Modi.

Other than talks, what is Xi doing?

The trip started with a private dinner for the two men on what was, coincidentally, Modi’s 64th birthday. This morning, Xi inspected a guard of honour and visited the eternal flame that burns on the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948.

Why has Xi made his first trip to India?

Xi told the media this morning he had come to India in friendship to “increase cooperation” between two “emerging markets” and to ensure the nations could “pursue development together”, The Hindu newspaper reports.

What about their personal relationship?

The Indian PM made several visits to China during the period when he was the governor of Gujarat but was boycotted by western governments including the UK for his role in the 2002 riots in that province. For his part, according to The Hindu, Xi sees parallels between Modi’s programme of economic liberalisation and China in the 1990s.

Has any bad PR spoiled things?

One of the regular flare-ups along the 2,200 miles of the China-India border took place last week, The Guardian reported. Some 200 Chinese soldiers entered Indian territory and used cranes and bulldozers to build a road, which was later demolished by Indian troops who ordered the soldiers to withdraw. It was embarrassing timing.

What about Tibet?

While they are not likely to receive much press coverage in China, a series of protests by Tibetan activists has followed Xi around India, says The Hindu. “Scores” of protesters “clashed with police” outside the venue for talks today, says the paper.

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