Prez Xi Jinping’s gift for PM Narendra Modi holds a message on China-India friendship

President Xi Jinping will be heading to Chennai for the second informal summit on Friday bearing a gift for Prime Minister Narendra Modi but like much of the meet, the nature of the gift is yet to be disclosed.

What is not a secret is that the gift will be a symbol of friendly relations between India, China, and Nepal.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday said the “preparations” for gifts for Modi and Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had been made.

“China has made preparations. The gifts embody the friendship between President Xi and the leaders of India and Nepal and the friendly relations between China, India, and Nepal,” the foreign ministry said in a brief statement to the Hindustan Times.

During 2018 Wuhan informal summit, Modi had presented specially-made prints of paintings by legendary Chinese artist Xu Beihong, who spent time at Santiniketan in West Bengal, to Xi.

Titled The Horse and Sparrows and Grass, Xu made the paintings during 1939-40, when he stayed at Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan and worked under Rabindranath Tagore.

The reprints were specially ordered by the Indian Council for Cultural Research (ICCR) from Xu’s collection at Santiniketan. Xu (1895-1953) was the first visiting professor from China to stay and work in the town where the Nobel laureate penned many of his classic poems and novels.

In April 2017, when Xi visited US President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach in Florida, he was carrying a calligraphy scroll.

“It was the first time the two had met and, at the time, Xi presented a calligraphy scroll to Trump, which read: “A terrace nine stories high comes from baskets of piled soil; a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said in a report.

Whether Xi’s gift to Modi and Bhandari will be connected with Buddhism remains to be seen.

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