Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a “healthy” and “fruitful” bilateral meeting here on Tuesday and agreed to avoid another Doklam-like border row when their armies had a dragging face-off.
This was the first one-on-one meeting between Modi and Xi after the over two-month-long stand-off between the two armies at Doklam in the Sikkim section of the border.
In the over one hour meeting after the conclusion of the 9th BRICS Summit, both leaders discussed the need to maintain peace and tranquility on their winding border.
“Met President Xi Jinping. We held fruitful talks on bilateral relations between India and China,” Modi tweeted later.
The Indian leader thanked the Chinese government and the people for their “warm hospitality” during the three-day BRICS Summit and said he was leaving for Myanmar.
On his part, Xi said “healthy and stable relations” between China and India were in line with the fundamental interests of their people.
“China is willing to work with India on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to improve political mutual trust, promote mutually beneficial cooperation and push Sino-Indian ties along a right track,” he told Modi.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Modi congratulated Xi for the “very successful” execution of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit.
Xi also told Modi that “healthy and stable bilateral ties (were) in line with fundamental interests of the two nations”.
Indian External Affairs Ministry Secretary S. Jaishankar described the Xi-Modi meet as “forward-looking” and “constructive”.
“Overall, the readout I will give you is really sort of forward-looking, constructive,” he told the media here.
“I think one of the important points which was made in the meeting was that peace and tranquility in the border areas was a prerequisite for further development of the bilateral relationship.”
Jaishankar said both the leaders agreed that “more efforts should be made to really enhance and strengthen the mutual level of trust between the two sides.
“It is natural that between large powers there would be areas of difference and it should be handled with mutual respect.
“Efforts should be made to find common ground in those areas… The defence and security personnel must maintain strong contact and cooperation and ensure that the sort of situation which happened recently should not recur,” Jaishankar said.
The stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops began in June at Doklam, an area disputed by Bhutan and China. India said the Chinese decision to build a road in the area impacted New Delhi’s strategic interests.
Indian troops entered the area and stopped the Chinese road work, angering Beijing. The border row seriously affected Sino-Indian relations until the two countries settled the issue by recalling their troops from Doklam last month.
Jaishankar said: “Both of us (India and China) know what happened. So, this was no backward looking conversation, this was forward looking conversation.”
Asked if Modi raised the issue of sanctions against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and terrorism emanating from Pakistan, Jaishankar said these were not discussed.
In a diplomatic win for New Delhi, the Xiamen BRICS declaration issued on Monday named both JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which are based in Pakistan and have been blamed for terror attacks in India, along with the IS and Al Qaeda.