India-China engagement is always accompanied by lofty rhetoric. Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi’s latest schmoozing described by the Chinese president himself as “in-depth”, “heart-to-heart”, “candid”. They apparently talked of “pragmatic cooperation” and “consolidating the foundation”.
On two issues, Modi should feel satisfied. One, a major part of his nearly six-hour-long one-on-one chat with Xi at the seaside town of Mamallapuram focused on trade. The Chinese president seemed amenable to the notion that the huge imbalance in figures that are heavily skewed against India is unsustainable and must address it.
However, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping avoid Kashmir, discuss trade deficit and hit right notes, but it’s tricky to trust Beijing. The second edition of the Modi-Xi informal summit was expectedly short on tangibles and long on florid semantics. But it did manage to throw up some promising angles for both nations to explore.
China isn’t remotely as interested in cutting a deal with India as it is with the US. But, New Delhi would consider it a positive outcome that both leaders have agreed on a ‘new mechanism’ to address the trade imbalance.