HAMBURG, GERMANY: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping today shook hands and greeted each other at an informal meeting of BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – in Germany’s Hamburg. The two leaders exchanged words of praise in their speeches and later discussed several issues. They will meet again this evening at a concert.
PM Modi and President Xi are in Germany for a two-day G-20 summit amid a lengthy stand-off between India and China at the border near Sikkim. The BRICS meeting today was held on the sidelines of the main summit.
A foreign ministry statement said that Mr Xi, while making concluding remarks, “appreciated India’s strong resolve against terrorism and the momentum in BRICS introduced under India’s chairmanship and through the outcomes of the Goa Summit in 2016. He also appreciated India’s success in economic and social development and wished India even bigger success.”
PM Modi, who spoke just before Mr Xi, “appreciated momentum in BRICS under the Chairmanship of President Xi” and extended cooperation and best wishes for the BRICS Summit to be held in China’s Xiamen later this year,” the ministry said.
The two leaders will hold no bilateral meeting in Hamburg. While China said yesterday that “the atmosphere is not right” for a formal meeting between them, India, made it clear that it has not sought such a meeting. Both will hold bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries on the sidelines of the main G20 summit, a group of leading industrialised and emerging economies.
Since the stand-off began last month, China has issued a series of warnings to India asking it withdraw its troops from Doklam, an area near Sikkim that Beijing claims as its own. Indian soldiers had arrived at the area early in June to stop the construction of a road by the Chinese Army that India has said has security implications for it.
China says the Indian Army’s actions violate an 1890 border agreement between Britain and China that previous Indian governments have pledged to uphold and that no dialogue can take place till Indian troops are pulled back.
Doklam is near the Tibet, India, Bhutan trijunction. Bhutan, which is militarily and diplomatically supported by India, says Doklam, called Donglang by China, is Bhutanese territory.
Sources have said the Indian and Chinese governments have been in touch over the tension.