This included a tour of the heritage monuments in Mahabalipuram, a cultural extravaganza by artistes from Kalakshetra Foundation and an elaborate dinner-cum-discussion that lasted for close to two and half hours.
President Xi Jinping reached Chennai at 2.10 pm to a grand reception, with at least 500 artistes performed traditional and folk arts, after which he headed to the hotel in Guindy. Xi and his convoy left to Mahabalipuram via road at 4 pm, welcomed en route by more than 3,500 folk artistes at 35 spots.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi advanced his visit to Chennai by an hour and landed in Chennai at 11.10 am where he was welcomed by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and host of Ministers. Following the reception, the PM flew to Thiruvidanthai from where he went by road to the private hotel in Kovalam.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clad in TN’s traditional attire of
white veshti and shirt, the Chinese President was equally simple in a shirt and pant, without his blazers.
Around 5.15 pm, PM Modi took him on a tour of the heritage monuments that lasted about an hour, followed by cultural programmes that went on for an hour.
At 7.15 pm, both the leaders had a private dinner following by elaborate discussions that lasted at least two and a half hours.
“The Chinese President chose to avoid Chinese food and preferred the local food. Chettinad items were a part of the cuisine,” said a Ministry of External Affairs official. The two leaders left Mahabalipuram around 9.45 pm. On Saturday, PM Modi and President Xi are expected to meet between 10 am and 12.45 pm.