Chinese President Xi Jinping is coming to India to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, just weeks after China supported Pakistan in raising the issue of India's recent actions in disputed Kashmir at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in NY.
The meeting in the southern Indian city of Chennai on Friday and Saturday is aimed at enhancing the rapport the leaders built when they met in the Chinese city of Wuhan past year to help stabilize ties after a standoff in another contested section of their long border, far removed from Kashmir.
The "informal" backdrop of the upcoming summit, however, is expected to provide the two leaders opportunity to discuss the broad range of issues and the status of bilateral ties, which seems to have cooled after New Delhi's revocation of special status for Jammu and Kashmir in August.
At Mamallapuram, Modi and Xi are likely to talk about mutual development and expanding ties.
China's close security ties with Pakistan have always been a matter of concern in New Delhi and in recent years India has drawn closer to the United States to help balance China's rising weight across the region.
Xi will be in India between October 11 and 12, the Chinese foreign ministry announced in a brief statement on Wednesday morning.
But, China added United Nations and UNSC resolutions on Kashmir when Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Beijing few days later and met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
"At the invitation of the Prime Minister, the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping will be visiting Chennai, India from 11 to 12 October 2019 for the 2nd Informal Summit", the ministry said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang's comments marked a significant shift on what China has been saying on Kashmir in recent weeks in the aftermath of India's move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution removing the special status to Kashmir. Meeting between them has no specific agenda, said sources while adding that the focus of the meeting will be on improving people to people contact and on how to maintain peace and tranquillity along the India-China border.
The leaders of the two most populous countries in the world last met one-on-one at a resort in Wuhan, China, in April 2018. China supports Pakistan in safeguarding its independent sovereignty and territorial integrity, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday as he met Mr Khan.
Later, Wang in his UN General Assembly speech mentioned the same which drew protests from India.
During Xi's visit, Modi is expected to raise economic issues, including India's $53 billion trade deficit with China in 2018/19, and the smaller presence of Indian companies in China compared with that of other major economies.
The two sides have cooperated to train Afghan diplomats as part of third-country projects decided at the Wuhan summit. PM Modi had given "clear guidance" that it would have to be held outside the national capital, and at a historical place, given Mr. Xi's "interest in history and culture".
In an exclusive interview to PTI, the Chinese envoy said both India and China should go beyond the model of "management of differences" and work towards actively shaping bilateral relations through accumulation of positive energy and forging greater cooperation for common development.