Chennai: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday (October 11) arrived at the Chennai International Airport to kick start an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mahabalipuram, a coastal town located about 56 kilometres south of Chennai.

A red carpet was rolled out to welcome Chinese President in the city with a magnificent cultural performance at the airport and school students waving flags of India and China in full display.

Children in a large number were also seen holding cute panda soft toys.

President Xi travelled by road to Mahabalipuram where he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 11. Xi's visit comes amid renewed strain in ties between India and China over the Kashmir issue. 

PM Modi was resplendent in white shirt and white dhoti, reflecting the tradition and culture of south India, as he shook hands with Xi, who was dressed in typical suit and boot.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that India's consistent and clear position has been that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and China is well aware of New Delhi's position.

According to a statement released by the ministry of external affairs, the informal summit provides an opportunity for the two leaders - PM Modi and Xi Jinping - to continue their discussions on overarching issues of bilateral, regional and global importance and to exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership

In the evening, a cultural programme will be held by the students of the famed dance group "Kalakshetra" to honour President Xi to initiate a two-day informal summit with PM Modi.

PM Modi and Xi would around the premises of the Shore Temple, an eighth-century rock Temple built by Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman II, before settling down for the Kalakshetra show.

The cultural group has prepared various dance performances such as Alarippu, Purappadu, Sethubandhanam and Shanthi Nilava.

Later, President Xi will be served south Indian cuisine, hosted by PM Modi. A variety of Indian culinary delights will be on display. The particular focus of the evening will be to showcase diverse South Indian cuisines.

From Thakkali Rasam and Arachuvitta Sambar to Kadalai Kuruma and Kavanarasi Halwa, the menu on offer will reflect the full diversity of south Indian culinary traditions.

All regional cuisines, from Chettinad to Karaikudi, will be represented at the visiting dignitary's dinner table this evening.

Meanwhile, as per sources, PM Modi and President Xi will engage in conversation and meeting for a total period of six hours from October 11 to 12.