Chinese President Xi Jinping is interested in ‘history and culture’ and therefore it was decided that the Second Informal Summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese leader would be hosted at Chennai and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
Mahabalipuram also called Mamallapuram is a town on a strip of land between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake. It is famous for its temples and monuments built by the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries.
“Moreover, Prime Minister Modi has been generally in favour of taking foreign dignitaries outside capital to showcase other parts of India,” a source said adding it was very much in this context
that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was taken to Bengaluru, French President Emmanuel Macron to Varanasi and President Xi Jinping was himself taken to Ahmedabad.
“….It was very evident to PM Modi during the first Informal Summit last year at Wuhan in China that Chinese President takes keen interest in history,” the source said.
The officials were given a ‘clear guidance’ that they have to look for a centre outside national capital to host the second Informal Summit.
Mahabalipuram is a World Heritage Site listed in 1984 and thus it was shortlisted and later zeroed down. Sources maintained that there has been “needless speculation” on why the Chinese President’s visit was not announced earlier even as there was a litigation in the Madras High Court related to putting up banners in connection with the visit.
“We have had a clear confirmation for weeks but we (Indian government and Chinese dispensation) had jointly decided to announce it only a couple of days earlier,” the sources said. The historic occasion will thus befittingly project the tourism potentials of Mahabaipuram in particular and also of Tamil Nadu.
The deciding factor was also the ‘historic connection’ between China and the coastal parts of Tamil Nadu, the source said. (UNI)