Indian media: Modi's 'personal touch' to improve China ties

Mr Xi (left) wore a traditional Indian jacket gifted to him by Mr Modi (right) on Wednesday Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Xi (left) wore a traditional Indian jacket gifted to him by Mr Modi (right) on Wednesday

Media are praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "personal touch" to India's diplomacy with China.

Mr Modi welcomed visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in his home state of Gujarat on Wednesday.

Mr Xi is visiting Delhi on Thursday for more serious talks on trade and border disputes amid hectic diplomatic activities.

But the "bonhomie" that the two leaders shared in Gujarat is making headlines both in Indian newspapers and on TV channels.

Mr Modi gave the Chinese president a personal tour of freedom leader Mahatma Gandhi's house in Ahmedabad city.

"Mr Xi took a trip down the annals of history with Mr Modi playing guide. Mr Modi stopped frequently and explained to Mr Xi the various facets of Gandhian thought and historical significance. The duo seemed more like friends on a leisurely walk around the campus," says The Times of India.

The two leaders also took a brief walk along the banks of Sabarmati river.

"The Chinese leader taken around by Mr Modi who played the perfect host, packed a lot - business, history and culture - in his six-hour whistle-stop tour of Gujarat's commercial capital, where giant billboards in Chinese, Gujarati and English greeted him," says the Hindustan Times.

And the papers see this "personal bonding" between the two leaders as a good omen for solving border disputes to improve bilateral ties.

"The ease and bonhomie in interaction between the two leaders are expected to help the two grapple with the more serious issues bedevilling relations between India and China, during talks in New Delhi on Thursday," says the financial website Mint.

The two countries disagree over the demarcation of several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962. Tensions over the issue still flare up from time to time.

Even Mr Xi's visit comes amid reports in the Indian media of a new face-off on the border.

The reports said Indian troops had spotted their Chinese counterparts trying to construct a temporary road into Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control (the de facto boundary) in the Ladakh region.

Asian Games

Meanwhile, Tibetan exiles on Wednesday protested in Ahmedabad and Delhi against the visit.

Police said 82 protesters, including a "well-known" face of the Tibetan protest Tenzin Tsundue, have been detained, The Times of India reported.

Tibetan leader Lobsang Sangay has urged the Indian government to discuss the Tibet issue with China, the Hindustan Times reports.

And finally, papers feel that India have a real chance of winning medals in shooting, badminton, wrestling and archery at the 17th Asian Games scheduled to start on Friday in Incheon, South Korea.

"India are hoping to match or better the 65 medals, including 14 gold, they won in the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010," says the Hindustan Times.

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