As China claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS meeting in South Africa took place on India’s request, top government sources refuted it and said there was a “pending request from the Chinese side”.
“There was a pending request from the Chinese side for a bilateral meeting,” government sources said.
The sources said the two leaders, however, had an “informal conversation” at the Leaders Lounge during the BRICS Summit at Johannesburg.
The Chinese foreign ministry had said, “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”.
The two leaders in the meeting agreed to work for “expeditious de-escalation” along the entire Line of Actual Control (LAC), where tensions have been high since June 2020, when the two sides clashed in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
They also agreed to direct officials in their countries to work on expeditious disengagement along the LAC.
“It was a conversation with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit. Prime Minister had interaction with other BRICS leaders. In the conversation with President Xi Jinping, the Prime Minister highlighted India’s concerns over unresolved issues along the LAC and other areas along the India-China border,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters on Thursday.
According to a Chinese readout, the two leaders had a “candid and in-depth exchange of views on current China-India relations and other questions of shared interest.
President Xi, the statement said, stressed “improving China-India relations serves common interests of the two countries and peoples, and is also conducive to peace, stability and development of the world and the region”.
“The two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of their bilateral relations and handle properly the border issue so as to jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border region,” the Chinese foreign ministry said, quoting Xi.