Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu is getting decked up for the second informal meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping, on Friday and Saturday. After the success of first informal meeting between the two leaders in Wuhan in April 2018, this meet has raised the expectations of exploring new possibilities. The old seaport town of Mahabalipuram, now known as Mamallapuram, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the meeting between the two leaders can open the doors for exploring the historical and cultural connection between Mamallapuram and China.
“Mamallapuram, a major sea port, was used to establish trade links with South-East Asian countries, including China around 6th century. According to historians, Chinese used to visit this place a long time ago for trade and pilgrimage. It is expected that the visit will make these ancient cultural connections strong and will help in increasing the people to people contact which has largely remained unexplored between two big Asian neighbours.
Trade and tourism between Mamallapuram and China are expected to get a big fillip. Wuhan summit in 2018 opened the doors for high level engagements at an informal level, a format in which the two leaders can engage in discussions on varying subjects. It remains to be seen how Mamallapuram summit can move beyond managing the differences to actively shaping and cementing bilateral relations for the world to see.