Indian PM Narendra Modi is in China on a three-day visit intended to boost economic co-operation but in danger of being overshadowed by mutual mistrust.
Ties between the two countries are strained because of a long-running border dispute.Arriving in Xian, in Mr Xi’s ancestral home province of Shaanxi, home city, Mr Modi will travel to Beijing and Shanghai as seeks Chinese investment.
Mr Modi said that he hoped his visit would increase the prosperity of Asia.
“I am confident my visit will lay the foundation for further enhancing economic co-operation with China in a wide range of sectors,” he tweeted last week.
China is India’s biggest trading partner with commerce between the two countries totalling $71bn (£45bn/€62bn) in 2014.
But Indian figures show that its trade deficit with China has spiralled from just $1bn in 2001-02 to more than $38bn (£24bn; €33bn) in 2014.
Mr Modi’s decision to start his trip in the ancient western city of Xian – some 1,000km (600 miles) from Beijing – is being seen as a sign of the warming relations between India and China.
Mr Xi, who like most Chinese leaders seldom hosts foreign dignitaries outside the capital, issued the invitation while visiting Mr Modi’s home town in Gujarat state last year.
The two leaders will tour the ancient Wild Goose Pagoda and visit the Terracotta Warrior exhibition outside the city, before travelling to Beijing on Thursday evening.
Ties between China and India have long been strained over a border dispute stemming from a short but bitterly-fought war between the two countries in 1962.
Correspondents say that Mr Modi has pursued a more strident foreign policy since coming to power a year ago, strengthening ties with the US and abandoning his country’s long-standing foreign policy of non-alignment.
Beijing, in turn, has strengthened ties with India’s arch-rival Pakistan, pledging to invest millions of dollars in infrastructure projects there.
Analysis: Carrie Gracie, BBC China Editor
A waking China “is a peaceful, amiable and civilised lion”, says President Xi. But who goes into the lion’s enclosure without armour?
The challenge for the Indian prime minister is the same as for many other Chinese neighbours: to establish common interest with the amiable lion while hedging against the possibility that its temper turns nasty.
Increasingly confident that its ascendancy is irreversible, China’s new leadership under President Xi has turned its back on the foreign policy maxim that dominated Chinese thinking for three decades – “to bide our time and conceal our capabilities”. – BBC