Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday identified the need to have closer communication between defence and security personnel of the two countries at the first substantive bilateral meeting of the two leaders after the tense standoff in Doklam. The meeting came on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China.
The two leaders reaffirmed the understanding reached at the SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan between PM Modi and Xi to ‘not allow differences to become disputes,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters, shortly after the meeting concluded. It is in the interest of both India and China to have good relations, the two leaders felt.
“Peace and tranquility in the border areas is a pre-requisite for ties to move forward,” Jaishankar said stressing that the two sides took a ‘constructive approach’ at the meeting.
On whether the two sides left Doklam behind, the foreign secretary, who accompanied PM Modi and NSA Ajit Doval at the meeting said,”It was a forward-looking conversation and not a backward-looking one.” On August 28, India had announced that New Delhi and Beijing would ‘expeditiously disengage’ their border troops in the Doklam area in Sikkim sector after 73-day standoff. The standoff had begun after India objected to Chinese troops constructing a concrete road in Doklam that fell under Bhutanese territory.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi attended the BRICS Emerging Markets and Developing Countries dialogue and complimented President Xi for a ‘very successful’ BRICS summit. He also held a bilateral meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
PM Modi, who leaves for Myanmar for a bilateral visit, thanked the Chinese for their hospitality during the summit. He added that the deliberations were ‘extremely productive’ and that he hoped to build on these in the future.