Wuhan, China: The choice of Wuhan as the venue for the maiden Sino-Indian informal Summit may have surprised many in India and elsewhere but the city has deep significance for Chinese Communist Party's seven-decade-old political history and bears nostalgia for section of the top leadership. 

Situated on Yangtze river Wuhan can be described as China's Ganga and Gangetic river port and therefore has a parallel with the Gangetic Belt of India which is key in running the Central government in Delhi.

Xi is in the process of trying to position himself as a Mao-like leader, though obviously without the zaniness of the Great Leap forward and Cultural Revolution, and this summit will hark back to that era at least in the minds of senior party leaders and others who Xi cares about, according to persons familiar with the Chinese party hierarchy. 

There is a nostalgia to some extent within the party for that era and this helps advance that. Selecting Wuhan had several important reasons including the fact that it is the home of the Chinese Ambassador to India -- it is filled with historic meaning that the senior Chinese leadership is well aware of. 

The choice of the city as venue has allowed China to showcase how they are developing the Yangtze river belt. It is an old haunt of Mao with the three gorges dam -- an engineering marvel when built -- around 120 km away. Another town Yichang is nearby- blend of old China (lot of history/ three kingdoms) and the new and historical narrative plays key role in Beijing’s foreign policy approach and nation building, according to old China watchers.

Wuhan has a historic villa that is famous from the Mao era where the Chairman would hold important party meetings and host some special foreign guests at the time when China did not have many friends. Mao also hosted Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon at the Meiling summer villa as well. More importantly, Mao held his famous swim across the Yangtze from there.

This villa was a very famous gathering place for Mao and senior party leadership during the cultural revolution and Mao called it the “Home of the White Clouds and yellow Cranes.” The city therefore is closely associated with the Mao era, and therein lies the importance for the Chinese side and Xi whose thoughts have been enshrined in the Constitution after Mao and Deng.

Wuhan is the most populous city in Central China. Arising out of the conglomeration of three cities, Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, Wuhan is known as 'China's Thoroughfare' -- it is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city and connecting to other major cities. Because of its key role in domestic transportation, Wuhan is sometimes referred to as "the Chicago of China"