The new-found bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping was again evident on Thursday night as the two leaders met on the margins of the BRICS Summit in South Africa and resolved to maintain peace and tranquility along the border between their countries by enhancing communications between forces.
“Both leaders have reaffirmed once again their readiness to give their militaries the necessary directions to enhance communications between them and to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said at a media briefing.
Recalling his recent meetings with Xi, Modi said their interaction had given a new strength to India-China ties and also provided new opportunities for bilateral cooperation. “It is important to maintain this momentum and for this we should, at our level, regularly review our relationship and give proper instructions whenever required,’’ the Indian leader told the Chinese President in his opening remarks.
President Xi again conveyed to Modi that he was very happy to accept his invitation to visit India for an informal summit next year.
Indian and Chinese troops were in a face-off position for over two months on the Doklam plateau at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction last year. New Delhi objected to Chinese road building in Doklam because of the disputed status and its proximity to the Siliguri Corridor which links India’s northeast to the rest of the country. The stand-off ended in August after both sides retreated from the point of the face-off.
Thursday’s meeting was the second between Modi and Xi after their informal summit in Wuhan, China, in April. Later, they met in Qingdao on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) last month.
During the Wuhan meet, both Modi and Xi pledged to keep the India-China border quiet and personally guide their respective armies to avert a Doklam-like military stand-off in future.
According to Gokhale, during the meeting in Johannesburg, both sides saw “forward movement in the sense of delegations going to have specific talks on imports by China”.
He said that a delegation representing the Indian pharmaceutical industry will visit China on 21-22 August. Beijing had given approval to import of generic Indian cancer-treatment drugs earlier this year.
“The two leaders will meet again on the margins of the G20 Summit in Argentina at the end of this year,” Gokhale added.