Modi, Xi hold extensive tete-a-tete over dinner

Hopes of a slew of Confidence Building Measures to take relations forward and smoothen the ruffles in ties appeared imminent as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping continued their one-on-one tete-a-tete over dinner on Friday, much beyond the scheduled time.

The one-on-one between the leaders of the two countries gave hope that something concrete would be worked out during the bilateral talks between the two sides on Saturday morning.

Earlier, the two leaders chatted animatedly as they viewed the imposing seventh century rock-cut cave temples of Mahabalipuram, sipped coconut water and held hands and smiled for the crowds, both looking at ease and enjoying the picturesque and historical setting of Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Chinese historian Hieun Tsang had recounted his visit to the port town of Mahabalipuram and written about it. Many pottery and other relics have been found in Quangzhan province of China, linking the town with India.

The beautiful cave temples, and the cultural performance the two leaders watched later, has helped take away the rough edges of ties, which had seen tensions over China’s statements on Kashmir and Beijing’s open backing of Pakistan.