India-China bilateral talks: Top govt sources rejects China's claim of talks at BRICS meeting in South Africa
New Delhi, August 25: Amid China's claims with regard to a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS meeting in South Africa at India's behest, government sources on Friday contradicted this stating that “there was a pending request from the Chinese side for a bilateral meeting”.
A statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry stated, “President Xi Jinping talked with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit at the latter’s request on August 23, 2023”.
However, top government sources said “there was a pending request from the Chinese side for a bilateral meeting”.
The sources also confirmed that “the two leaders, however, had an informal conversation in the Leaders' Lounge during the BRICS Summit”.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement also added that the “two leaders had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on current China-India relations and other questions of shared interest and President Xi stressed that improving China-India relations serves the common interests of the two countries and peoples, and is also conducive to peace, stability and development of the world and the region”.
At the 15th BRICS Summit that concluded in Johannesburg on Thursday, sharing details of a conversation between India-China meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said in a conversation with President Xi, PM Modi highlighted India’s border concern.
"On the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, the Prime Minister had interactions with other BRICS leaders. In a conversation with President Xi Jinping of China, the Prime Minister highlighted India's concerns on unresolved issues along the LAC in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas," said Kwatra.
"The Prime Minister underlined that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and observing and respecting the LAC are essential for the normalisation of the India-China relationship. In this regard, two leaders agreed to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation," Kwatra added.
On Thursday, both leaders (PM Modi and Xi) greeted each other ahead of the BRICS leaders' briefing where they were seen interacting briefly on the stage.
The relations between New Delhi and Beijing have been strained since the border standoff for which talks have been going on. India and China held the 19th round of Corps commander-level talks earlier this month at Chushul-Moldo on the Indian side.
According to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, “They agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations through military and diplomatic channels. In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the peace and tranquility on the ground in the border areas.”