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Amid continuing border standoff, Xi and Modi exchange pleasantries in Hamburg

At the BRICS leaders’ informal gathering at Hamburg hosted by China, PM Narendra Modi and President Xi had a conversation on a range of issues. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @MEAIndia)
At the BRICS leaders’ informal gathering at Hamburg hosted by China, PM Narendra Modi and President Xi had a conversation on a range of issues. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @MEAIndia)

(TibetanReview.net, Jul09, 2017) – The ongoing acrimonious and already the longest border standoff in decades between troops of the world’s two most populous countries did not prevent their top leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from having a friendly exchange in Germany’s second city of Hamburg on Jul 7. The two leaders were attending a G-20 summit of the world’s 20 major economies and met on a sideline informal meeting of the BRICS nations, which is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The two leaders exchanged words of praise in their speeches and later discussed several issues; and they were to meet again at an evening concert, reported India’s NDTV.com Jul 7.

A statement from India’s foreign ministry said Mr Xi, while making concluding remarks, “appreciated India’s strong resolve against terrorism and the momentum in BRICS introduced under India’s chairmanship and through the outcomes of the Goa Summit in 2016. He also appreciated India’s success in economic and social development and wished India even bigger success.”

The statement also quoted Mr Modi, who had spoken just before Mr Xi, as having said, “appreciated momentum in BRICS under the Chairmanship of President Xi and extended cooperation and best wishes for the BRICS Summit to be held in China’s Xiamen later this year.”

However, no bilateral meeting between them was scheduled in Hamburg, although both will hold bilateral exchanges with leaders of other countries on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.

The day before, China had said “the atmosphere is not right” for a formal Xi-Modi meeting. However, India then explained that it had not sought such a meeting.

Since the stand-off began on Jun 6, China has issued a series of warnings to India, including abusive and warlike threats especially from its official Global Times newspaper, asking it to withdraw its troops from Doklam, an area in Bhutan near Sikkim and Tibet that Beijing claims as a part of its occupied Tibet territory. Indian soldiers had entered the area to stop the construction of a road by the Chinese Army that New Delhi sees as detrimental to its security.

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