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2019-10-09 HKT 17:00
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host President Xi Jinping for an "informal summit" this week, India and China confirmed at short notice on Wednesday as growing differences dog the two Asian giants' historically prickly relations.
These include Chinese anger at India's August move to split Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state into two and at Indian military exercises in Arunachal Pradesh state, part of which Beijing claims. China has also irked India with its recent diplomatic support for Pakistan.
Modi and Xi appeared to patch things up in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and the new meeting is billed as a push to build on that gathering.
"Since the meeting between the leaders of the two countries last year, China-India relations have developed at a good pace. The two sides have steadily promoted cooperation in various fields and properly dealt with differences and sensitive issues," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday.
But India has also objected to Beijing's Belt and Road initiative, a vast global infrastructure programme that includes a major project through Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a territory claimed by New Delhi.
"China sympathises and supports the situation faced by Pakistan on this issue. So, at present, the relationship between China and India has reached a very delicate point," said Cheng Xiaohe at the Department of International Politics at Renmin University.
Xi, 66, was expected to press Modi, 69, to allow Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to take part in 5G trials, something which Washington has been pressing New Delhi not to permit because of security concerns.
"Frankly, the optics surrounding this visit don't look very promising at the moment," Harsh Pant, an international relations professor with King's College in London, said. "If at all, the dynamic has become more conflictual."
After India, Xi was due to make a state visit Nepal on Saturday and Sunday, the first by a Chinese president in more than two decades. (AFP)