Mint Explainer: Modi, Xi meet on sidelines of BRICS Summit. Why is it important

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping of China met on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two leaders held “candid and in-depth” exchange of views on current China-India relations and other questions of shared interest. Mint explains the significance of the meeting.

• A possible Modi-Xi meeting was amongst the most highly anticipated moments of the BRICS Summit. This marks only the second time that the two leaders have spoken in person about the state of bilateral ties since their brief encounter at the Bali G20 Summit in Indonesia last year.

• According to India’s foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra, Modi expressed India’s concerns about the ongoing border standoff between the two countries. “Prime Minister underlined that the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and observing and respecting the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are essential for the normalization of the India-China relationship,” he said in a media briefing.

• Both leaders agreed to direct their officials to intensify efforts at disengagement and de-escalation on the border. “The two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of their bilateral relations & handle properly the border issue so as to jointly safeguard peace & tranquility in the border region,” reads a press release by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.

• This high-level declaration comes soon after the 19th round of Corps Commanders talks and Major General-level talks focused on pushing through disengagement on key sections of the disputed border. According to numerous reports, these latest talks have made some progress towards disengagement.

• Disengagement is yet to take place in Depsang and Demchok. In the former, Chinese troops have blocked the Indian military access to patrolling points on the border. In the latter, the Charding Ninglung Nullah junction has been a point of tension between the two sides.

• Since 2020, both sides have withdrawn from contested areas in the Western sector of the LAC, such as Gogra, Hot Springs, Pangong Tso, and Galwan.

• India has maintained that normalizing bilateral relations is contingent upon resolving the border crisis.