PM Modi presses Chinese President Xi Jinping on border issues during BRICS summit

The bilateral relations between India and China, the two powerful Asian neighbours, have always been marred by border disputes.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi (second right) along with BRICS leaders participate in the BRICS Leaders Retreat, at the Summer Place in Johannesburg on Tuesday. PHOTO: ANI/THE STATESMAN

August 25, 2023

NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a conversation on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. Addressing the media after the conclusion of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said, “…in the conversation with President Xi Jinping, the prime minister highlighted India’s concerns at the unresolved issues along the LAC in the western sector of the India-China border areas.”

TV visuals showed the two leaders indulged in what looked like a brief and informal interaction. The conversation between Modi and XI took place soon after member countries agreed to allow the expansion of BRICS. The grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa invited Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt and Ethiopia to join.

This was the second such conversation between PM Modi and President Jinping since the May 2020 standoff. The two leaders had discussed the border issues on the sidelines of last year’s G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The bilateral relations between India and China, the two powerful Asian neighbours have always been marred by border disputes. The 2020 border standoff brought the two nuclear-armed nations almost to the brink of a full-fledged war. However, several rounds of diplomatic and corps-commander-level talks deescalated the situation but several issues remained unresolved.

So far, disengagement of troops has only taken place in areas like Galwan Valley and around the Pangong Tso lake. However, China is not yet ready to restore the status quo in the border area that was before the 2020 standoff.

While both countries have been reiterating their commitment to peacefully resolve their border issues through dialogue and diplomacy, China’s unreasonable claims on Indian territory are slowing the progress.

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