Tight cover in Tamil Nadu ahead of Xi Jinping visit

Chennai: A thick security blanket was thrown in the historic temple town of Mamallapuram, Chennai and coastal districts in Tamil Nadu ahead of the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his entourage for informal talks with Indian PM Narendra Modi.

The state police in coordination with coastal and defence forces mounted vigil on the road route to be taken by Xi Jinping to reach the summit venue from Chennai as well as coastal areas as Mamallapuram is a shore town. The Indian Coast Guard too deployed its vessels off the coast to prevent any possible intrusion via sea route.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami along with his senior Cabinet colleagues and Chief Secretary Shanmugam visited Mamallapuram on Thursday evening to oversee security and other arrangements.

Sources involved in the security detail of the VVIPs said that Xi Jinping’s flight would touch down at the Chennai international airport at 2.10 pm on Friday.

After according the ceremonial welcome at the airport, the visiting President would be driven down to Hotel ITC Grand Chola in Guindy. At 4 pm, the Chinese President would depart from the hotel and reach Mamallapuram by road.

An hour later, he would be taken on a guided tour of the Arjuna’s Penance, Panch Rathas and Shore temple, all of which are historic monuments of the Pallava era protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Xi Jinping and Modi will watch a cultural performance at the Shore Temple before heading for a dinner hosted by the latter. Xi Jinping would return to his hotel in Chennai and spend the night there.

On Saturday, the two leaders would have a tete-a-tete at the scenic Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort and Spa for about 40 minutes. This would be followed by delegation level talks at a different venue at the same resort. After lunch hosted by the Prime Minister, Xi Jinping would depart from the Chennai airport at 12.45 pm for China.

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