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Mahabalipuram all set for Modi-Xi summit (Lead)

Friday - October 11, 2019 1:28 pm , Category : INDIA
Chennai, Oct 11 (IANS) Tamil Nadu's picturesque seaside town of Mahabalipuram is all set to host the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping that begins on Friday.
Prime Minister Modi who arrived here in the morning was received by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and others at the airport.
"Landed in Chennai. I am happy to be in the great land of Tamil Nadu, known for its wonderful culture and hospitality. It is gladdening that Tamil Nadu will host President Xi Jinping. May this Informal Summit further strengthen ties between India and China," Modi had tweeted.
Xi will land here later in the afternoon, and will proceed to Mahabalipuram, 50 km away, amid tight security.
Security has been tightened in Mahabalipuram, as well as in Chennai. The state police have deployed thousands of security forces and installed CCTV cameras at several places.
It has been learnt that Governor Purohit, Chief Minister Palaniswami and others will receive Xi at the airport.
As part of the welcoming programme, students from schools and colleges and others will stand on the pavements waving Indian and Chinese national flags to greet Xi on his way to ITC Grand Chola Hotel from the airport and from there to Mahabalipuram.
Ahead of his arrival, roads and pavements were re-relaid and walls painted.
An eight-feet stone sculpture of Goddess Meenakshi has been temporarily installed at the Chennai airport. The sculpture was supplied by Mayan Handicrafts, Mahabalipuram.
Similarly Mayan Handicrafts and BS Arts have supplied different sculptures that were installed at the town's entrance and also near the Shore Temple.
The Tamil Nadu government has organised troupes from different parts to showcase the various traditional cultures of the state. The troupes have been training hard here for the past two days.
They will perform on the stages erected for Xi to see while he is enroute Mahabalipuram from the ITC Grand Hotel.
The Chinese President will travel by road in his Hongqi luxury car to the Unesco world heritage site to meet Modi.
Perhaps wishing that the Modi-Xi Summit be fruitful, Tamil Nadu government has put up a welcome arch near the Five Rathas with different kinds of fruits.
According to the officials about 20 different kinds of fruits -- all sourced from the different parts of Tamil Nadu -- have been used on the arch. Most of the fruits are organically grown.
Huge quantities of flowers were also used for decorating the monuments.
The two leaders will have guided tour of three monuments - Arjuna's Penance, Five Rathas/Five Chariots and the Shore Temple.
The two leaders will witness a cultural performance by the Kalakshetra team at the Shore Temple.
While Modi will spend Friday night at Taj Fisherman's Cove Resort and Spa beach resort near Mahabalipuram, the Chinese President will drive back to the ITC Grand Chola Hotel.
On Saturday morning, Xi will again go to Mahabalipuram by road and have discussions with Modi at the Taj Fisherman's Cove Resort and Spa.
"The two leaders would exchange views on a range of subjects unrestricted by a set agenda," the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted on Friday.
Meanwhile, police have arrested 11 Tibetans in Chennai when they tried to stage protest against Xi.
As Mahabalipuram is a coastal town, the Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have intensified patrolling.
Fishermen in the nearby villages have been instructed not to venture into the sea for the next two days.
The summit would see both the leaders hold extensive informal conversations amidst the historical backdrop of the seaside town in an "easy going" atmosphere, sources said.
The meeting between the two leaders would be the third after Modi's re-election in May. The two had met in Bishkek on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, and in Osaka on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
It will also be their sixth meeting since the Wuhan informal meeting of last year, highlighting the readiness between the two sides to keep up the momentum, the sources added.
Xi will leave for China on Saturday afternoon.

--IANS vj/ksk

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