Mahabalipuram all geared up for Modi-Xi informal summit

Mahabalipuram all geared up for Modi-Xi informal summit

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu’s picturesque seaside town of Mahabalipuram is all geared up to host the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping that begins Friday. Xi lands here in the afternoon and will proceed to Mahabalipuram, 50 km away, amid tight security.

Security has been tightened at Mahabalipuram and Chennai. The state police have deployed thousands of security forces and installed CCTV cameras at several places. It has been learnt that Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and others will receive Xi upon his arrival at the airport. As part of the welcoming programme, students from schools and colleges and others will stand on the pavements waving Indian and Chinese national flags to greet Xi on his way to ITC Grand Chola Hotel from the airport and from there to Mahabalipuram.

Ahead of his arrival, roads and pavements have been re-relaid and walls painted. An eight-feet stone sculpture of Goddess Meenakshi has been temporarily installed at the Chennai airport. The sculpture was supplied by Mayan Handicrafts, Mahabalipuram. The Tamil Nadu government has organised troupes from different parts to showcase the various traditional cultures of the state. The troupes have been training hard here for the past two days.

They will perform on the stages erected for Xi to see while he is enroute Mahabalipuram from the ITC Grand Hotel. The Chinese President will travel by road in his Hongqi luxury car to the Unesco world heritage site to meet Modi. The two leaders will have guided tour of three monuments – Arjuna’s penance, Panch Rathas, and the Shore Temple.

While Modi will spend Friday night at Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort and Spa beach resort near Mahabalipuram, the Chinese President will drive back to the ITC Grand Chola Hotel. On Saturday morning, Xi will again go to Mahabalipuram by road and have discussions with Modi at the Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort and Spa. As Mahabalipuram is a coastal town, the Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have intensified patrolling.

Fishermen in the nearby villages have been instructed not to venture into the sea for the next two days. The summit would see both the leaders hold extensive informal conversations amidst the historical backdrop of the seaside town in an “easy going” atmosphere, sources said. The meeting between the two leaders would be the third after Modi’s re-election in May. The two had met in Bishkek on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, and in Osaka on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

It will also be their sixth meeting since the Wuhan informal meeting of last year, highlighting the readiness between the two sides to keep up the momentum, the sources added. Xi will leave for China on Saturday afternoon. IANS

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