• Monday, October 02, 2023

Diplomacy

Are Modi, Xi meeting on sidelines of Johannesburg BRICS summit? No official word yet

If the bilateral meeting takes place, it will be the two leaders’ first since the eastern border standoff between India and China began in May 2020.

Chinese president Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Indian PM Narendra Modi in Hangzhou, China, in September 2016. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

WHILE Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the upcoming BRICS summit in Johannesburg in South Africa are being finalised, there was no confirmation yet whether he would hold talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Indian foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said this on Monday (21).

Modi was set to depart for the south African nation on Tuesday (22) on a three-day visit to attend the first post-Covid in-person summit of the grouping that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Asked at a media briefing whether Modi and Xi will hold talks on the sidelines of the summit, Kwatra said the schedule of the prime minister’s bilateral meetings is being finalised.

If the bilateral meeting takes place, it will be their first since the eastern border standoff began in May 2020.

Modi and Xi had a brief encounter at a dinner during the G20 summit in Bali in Indonesia last November.

China has already announced that Xi is travelling to South Africa to attend the summit.

Meanwhile, talks among local commanders of the Indian Army and Chinese PLA for confidence-building measures in eastern Ladakh’s Depsang and Demchok continued. The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

India and China held the 19th round of Corps Commander-level talks on August 13 and 14 with a focus on resolving pending issues at the standoff areas of Depsang and Demchok.

A joint statement described the talks as “positive, constructive and in-depth” and that both sides agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner.

On July 24, Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval met top Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of a meeting of the BRICS in Johannesburg.

In its statement on the meeting, the MEA said Doval conveyed that the situation along the LAC in the western sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 had “eroded strategic trust” and the public and political basis of the relationship.

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also held talks with Wang on the sidelines of a meeting of the East Asia Summit in Jakarta last month. India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.

(With PTI inputs)

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