Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit to China Friday (April 27) for an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, to reset relations between the two Asian giants.
Modi is also due to travel to China in June for a regional security summit -- it is highly unusual for a foreign leader to visit the country twice in such quick succession, the South China Morning News reported Sunday.
Jinping-Modi summit was announced in a joint press conference held after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Beijing on Sunday, April 22.
According to Indian media reports, the two leaders will meet in Hubei capital Wuhan one-on-one, without any ministers or advisers, and the summit aimed to redefine the future relationship of the two countries.
"This year, under the guidance of our leaders, the China-India relationship has realized good development and shown a positive momentum," Wang told the press conference.
"The informal summit will be an important occasion for them to exchange views on bilateral and international matters from an overarching and long-term perspective with the objective of enhancing mutual communication at the level of leaders," Swaraj was quoted as saying by Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar on his official Twitter account.
A Chinese analyst was quoted by the South China Morning News as saying that Modi's visit would be a chance for the two sides to reset ties following last year's protracted military stand-off in the disputed Himalayan border region of Doklam.
New Delhi's invitation for the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh and its criticism of Beijing's trade and infrastructure strategy, the "Belt and Road Initiative", have also strained relations between China and India amid growing rivalry over regional influence.
"India has made goodwill gestures since March and the two countries are now ready to get their ties back on track," said Jiang Jingkui, an expert on China-India relations at Peking University.
Jiang said a separate bilateral meeting between Xi and Modi ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit would give the two leaders enough space and time to build a post-Doklam framework for relations.
"The meeting could be an opportunity for the two countries to explore a new mode of exchange as they seek to develop a more mature relationship that transcends border disputes, and try to find new ground for political, economic and regional cooperation," Jiang said.
The South China Morning News quoted Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, as saying that Beijing was concerned about India's growing cooperation with the United States, including last year's announcement to revive the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, talks that also include officials from Australia and Japan.
"Whenever China feels that US-India relations are improving, China does some kind of signalling, and calls for 'multipolarity' to counter the United States' 'unipolar' position," he said.
Renmin University international relations professor Shi Yinhong said the talks were part of a broader effort to improve bilateral relations.
"This is part of the ongoing reconciliation in bilateral ties between China and India since August when the two countries agreed to end the stand-off at Doklam," Shi said.