Xi will drive past ‘Zhou Enlai maternity home’
The quiet lifestyle of the local population has been challenged these days as security barricades have mushroomed and zigzag police checkpoints, a la New Delhi, have made their appearance here. Security cameras dot the median of the East Coast Road that Xi will drive on to reach Mamallapuram.
Over the next couple of days, PM Modi and Xi will get some time to themselves, though not as much as was initially anticipated. Xi touches down in Chennai around lunchtime and will undertake an hour-long drive to this seashore town around 4pm. He will be received by the Tamil Nadu CM and the governor in Chennai, local officials said.
Amid the dying sun — just as well, because this place is still very hot — Modi will guide Xi through the famous monuments of Arjuna’s Penance, Panch Rathas and the Shore Temple before they settle down to watch a Kalakshetra performance of Bharatnatyam. In a special gesture, Modi and Xi will have dinner in the Shore Temple. Mamallapuram has long connections with China and in some parts, archaeological excavations have revealed the presence of Chinese coins.
Xi will return to his hotel in Chennai after dinner, and come back to Mamallapuram the next morning. He and Modi will have just about another hour to themselves before they are joined by their delegations — S Jaishankar and Ajit Doval on the Indian side and Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi on the Chinese side. After lunch, Xi will return to the airport to fly off to Nepal for the rest of the day.
En route to Mamallapuram, Xi will encounter numerous shops engaged in exquisite stone carvings. There is a tiny village, Kuzhipanthandalam, which has played its role in India-China relations. On December 6, 1956, the then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai drove through the village,
A student wears a Xi Jinping mask in Chennai on Thursday