Shanghai, May 16: Prime Minister rendra Modi on Saturday said he shares a close friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, describing it as "plus one" beyond what the leaders of two tions can share.
Addressing a 5,000-strong Indian community at the Shanghai Expo Centre here, Modi said that ancient Chinese Buddhist scholar Hieun Tsang had written that in western India, especially Gujarat, there was a lot of influence of Lord Buddha’s teachings, including in Vadgar, Modi’s homeplace.
He said while he was chief minister of Gujarat, he asked his government to start excavations to find out Buddhist relics and a lot of relics associated with Hieun Tsang were discovered in his village Vadgar.
“When I won (the general elections), then Xi told me about the find in my village. He came to India and to Ahmedabad, but unfortutely he could not come to Vadgar,” said Modi.
“President Xi told me that ‘when Hieun Tsang returned from your gaon (village), he came and settled in my gaon’. President Xi took me to the temple and showed me the description of my city (Vadgar) written in Chinese script by Hieun Tsang,” said Modi, to loud applause.
“Such close friendship between two leaders is spoken about, and our friendship is beyond that, at plus one; and to understand and appreciate this ‘plus one’ friendship will take time for many,” he said.
Modi had visited Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province and the hometown of Xi, in the first leg of his Chi visit on Thursday. After talks, Xi had accompanied Modi to the Wild Goose Pagoda and shown him around, including a book of Buddhist writings. Modi had held the page and shown it to the camera.
Xi had invited Modi to Xi’an in a reciprocal gesture after Modi welcomed him to Ahmedabad during his visit to India last year and treated him to a colourful walk beside the Sabarmati River Front. IANS