WUHAN, April 27 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping today held multiple meetings here as part of an unprecedented two-day informal summit to �solidify� the India-China relationship and exchanged views on how the two countries can work together for the benefit of their people and the world.
The summit in Wuhan - the favourite holiday spot of revolutionary Chinese leader Mao Zedong - is being seen as an effort by India and China to rebuild trust and improve ties that were hit by the 73-day-long Dokalam standoff last year.
Prime Minister Modi who arrived in the central Chinese city early today for the summit began talks soon after President Xi hosted a grand welcoming ceremony for him at the Hubei Provincial Museum here.
�The two leaders had a one-on-one meeting during which they exchanged views on solidifying our bilateral relationship,� Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Modi and Xi shook hands, posed for photographs and witnessed a cultural programme at the museum before heading for one-on-one talks. Later, they held delegation-level talks accompanied by six top officials from each side. Xi also hosted a banquet for Modi at the state guest house by the famous East Lake.
During the talks, Modi offered to host the next informal summit with Xi in India next year. �I�ll be happy, if in 2019, we can have such informal summit in India,� Modi told Xi.
The Chinese president said he believes in future and they can meet in a format like this from time to time. �I believe in the future, we will meet in format like this, from time to time. I look forward to in-depth communication with your Excellency, and ensure we can build common understanding and help to take the China-India relationship to the next level,� Xi said.
Modi hailed the centuries old Sino-India ties and said the two sides have a �big opportunity� to work together for the benefit of their people and the world.
He recalled that during the 2000 years of history, India and China together provided momentum and strength to the world economy and dominated it for around 1600 years. �The two countries together constituted for about 50 per cent of the world economy and another 50 per cent was shared by rest of the world for 1600 years,� the prime minister said.
Modi also said the people of India felt proud that President Xi has twice received him out of the capital.
�I�m perhaps the first Prime Minister of India, for whom, you have come out of the capital (Beijing) twice to receive me,� Modi said, referring to his visit to Xi�an - the home town of President Xi - in 2015.
Xi told Modi that their meeting opens a new chapter for bilateral ties.
He emphasised the two sides should look at the big picture of China-India relationship from a strategic angle and ensure their relationship continue to move forward in a positive direction.
�The friendship between the two countries should continue to grow like the Yangtze and Ganges flowing forward forever,� China�s state-run CCTV quoted Xi as saying.
�We see a fast pace and bright future for China-India cooperation,� Xi told Modi, who is in China on his fourth visit after he came to power in 2014. � PTI