Xi to take Modi to his hometown in historical Xian

INDIA-GUJARAT-XI JINPING-VISITBEIJING: Hometown diplomacy mixed with a Silk Road touch is expected be part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s reciprocal gesture when Prime Minister Narendra Modivisits China before end of May.

Xi is expected to take Modi to his home province of Shaanxi and its historic provincial capital, Xian, which was hub of the ancient Silk Road, official media reported on Wednesday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who concluded her visit here on Tuesday said Prime Minister Modi would visit before May 26, the end of his first year in office.

Hometown diplomacy is emerging as the latest trend to showcase the closeness of ties between countries, state-run China Daily said.

Such a practice is not new but has been an increasing occurrence recently and has often coincided with key national strategies, generating widespread public interest, it said.

China was expected to highlight Xi’s mega project — the new Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road (MSR) — during Modi’s visit.

Xi announced a USD40 billion dollar funding for the Silk Road projects which included Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) road as well as the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor being built through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). China has invited India to take part in BCIM and the MSR.

Shortly after Xi proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt to revive the ancient trading route in September 2013, he visited Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s hometown of Samarkand, a city with a 2,500-year history and a major stop along the ancient Silk Road.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Hefei, the capital of Premier Li Keqiang’s home province of Anhui, the following month, the daily said.

As a special gesture, Prime Minister Modi had accompanied President Xi during the latter’s visit to Ahmedabad last year.  – From Daily News Analysis

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