Modi, Xi look to patch up India-China ties

School students wave the national flag of China and India ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit Chennai

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday continued their conversation from where they left off the previous day, as part of their informal summit meeting on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.

President Xi is also expected to speak about the Modi government's decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

India in turn has been enraged by China's diplomatic backing for Pakistan, which controls a much larger part of the disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir region.

The leaders of India and China expressed concern regarding terrorism and agreed to fight radicalization Friday, said Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

When Xi said he supports Pakistan's "legitimate rights", India's foreign ministry thundered it was "not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India".

Harsh Pant, an worldwide relations professor at King's College London, told AFP that China's backing of Pakistan "has left a very bad taste in India's mouth".

Officials on both sides said the focus of the Modi-Xi summit has been to move forward and chart a new pathway of development notwithstanding sharp differences between the two countries over several contentious issues.

India and China - home to more than a third of humanity - have never been the best of friends, going to war in 1962 and engaging in a series of Himalayan standoffs since.

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The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader and long an aggravation for China, is based at Dharamsala in northern India.

Friday's talks between Modi and Xi were aimed at building on the relationship reset that began in Wuhan in April previous year.

Their latest meeting, over elaborate meals and dance performances at Mahabalipuram Friday and Saturday, is aimed at building on that.

Earlier on Friday afternoon, Modi, dressed in a Tamil attire of Veshti (Dhoti), white shirt and an "angavastram", took Xi for a guided tour of the famous world heritage sites of Arjuna's Penance, Krishna's Butterball, the Pancha Ratha and Shore temple in this ancient temple town, kicking off the second informal summit between the two leaders.

Mahabalipuram - home to historical monuments that pay testament to India and China's ancient ties - has seen more than 40 Tibetans, including a prominent activist, reportedly detained ahead of the summit.

China, on its part, has been reportedly unhappy about Indian military exercises in Arunachal Pradesh, some 100km from the undemarcated border between the two countries.

India and China are both members of the RCEP along with 10 ASEAN nations - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - and their trade partners - Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Indian cities have some of the world's highest levels of atmospheric pollution but they are also among the dirtiest with piles of garbage lying in big centres like Delhi and Mumbai because of rapid urban growth and poor governance. "We have a made a wise decision on informal summits".

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