India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, received a festive welcome in President Xi Jinping’s hometown of Xi’an on the first day of his three-day visit to China.
Xi hosted a banquet for Modi in a building near the ancient city wall and organized a ceremony modeled after the royal welcoming events from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). The president told Modi that “this is the first time I have received a foreign leader in my hometown,” adding that it is incredibly rare for China’s top leaders to accompany foreign guests outside the capital. Oh-la-la.
Before the ceremony, Xi led Modi through the Terracotta Warriors Museum (where the prime minister “went about touching statues“, prompting criticism from Chinese netizens) as well as two temples, the Da Ci’en Temple and the Wild Goose Pagoda.
Modi, who said he was impressed by his first visit to China, presented saplings of the Bodhi tree to the temple. Xi remarked that ex-Indian Prime Minister Javaharlal Nehru also presented Bodhi trees in 1954, which continue to thrive today and symbolize ‘the growing friendship’ between the two nations.
The hometown tour was Xi’s way of thanking Modi following his visit to India last September, wherein Modi took the Chinese president to his home state of Gujarat. China-Indian relations have since experienced stable developments and the president hopes that Modi’s visit will further strengthen the two countries’ partnership.
The Indian prime minister is also hoping to boost trade ties between the two Asian countries, as India could use Chinese investments to build power plants, railways and other infrastructure. The prime minister recently joined Weibo in an ongoing effort to strengthen India’s relationship with China.
After Modi’s Xi’an visit, he traveled to Beijing and met with Chinese premier Li Keqiang, signing a number of business agreements. Modi’s next stop in the three-nation tour of China, Mongolia and South Korea is Shanghai, the final destination in China.
[Images Via People]
Watch clips from Modi’s visit here:
By Sharon Choi