The historic coastal town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu will invite global attention as Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at the UNESCO world heritage site for the second informal bilateral on October 11-12.
This won’t be the first occasion for a foreign leader to be hosted outside the national capital of India, which used to be the norm in the not-so-distant past.
Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe and his wife were hosted in Ahmedabad in October 2018, where they visited the Sabarmati Ashram and Sidi Sayyed Mosque. Even the Chinese President on his last visit was welcomed in Ahmedabad, where he visited the Sabarmati riverfront along with Prime Minister Modi.
French President Emmanuel Macron got a taste of Varanasi and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh on his four-day visit apart from spending time with students in capital Delhi while German Chancellor Angela Merkel was hosted in Bengaluru’s Bosch Research Centre on her 2015 trip marked by signing of deals worth 2.25 billion dollars. Israeli Premier Bejamin Netanyahu was hosted in Ahmedabad where Prime Minister Modi taught him kite flying after an eight- km roadshow from the Airport to Sabarmati Ashram.
Former French President Francois Hollande was hosted in Chandigarh, where Modi and Hollande visited the Rock Garden, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was taken to Akshardham Temple in Delhi, South Korean President Moon Jae-in went to Noida while US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump was hosted at the city of pearls in Hyderabad for the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit with a dinner at the Golconda Fort and Taj Falaknuma Palace, each, thrown-in.
Similarly, during his India visit, German President Frank Walter visited Varanasi, Sarnath and Chennai while Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat and Mumbai.
The First Lady of South Korea got a chance to witness the Diwali celebrations in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya, reigniting the centuries-old connect between the two countries and the Prime Minister of Mauritius was welcomed in Varanasi for the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas programme.