Modi, Xi discuss BRICS issues, overlook border standoff

08 Jul 2017


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted on a range of issues at the BRICS meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty summit in Hamburg, Germany, but the two were cautious to avoid any mention of their border standoff.

Modi and Xi discussed "a range of issues" at the BRICS leaders' informal gathering in Hamburg "hosted by China," external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in a tweet. He did not elaborate.

The ministry's tweet also carried a photograph of Modi and Xi shaking hands on the sidelines of the G20 summit, even as tensions continued to build up between India and China in the Sikkim section.

Both countries had earlier discounted chances of a Modi-Xi meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting.

Meanwhile, the armies of both countries continued their standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction. The row started after a Chinese Army's construction party attempted to build a road on Bhutanese territory.

Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.

Later, in an address to BRICS leaders, Modi "appreciated" momentum in the bloc under the Chinese chairmanship and extended full cooperation for the grouping's upcoming summit to be hosted by Beijing. He also extended full cooperation and best wishes to China for the next BRICS summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen later this year.

"Under Xi's chairmanship, the progress and positive momentum of BRICS has further deepened our cooperation," Modi said.

Modi said BRICS has been a strong voice and needs to show leadership on terrorism and global economy, according to a press release issued by the ministry of external affairs.

It quoted Modi as saying that G20 nations should also "collectively oppose terrorism financing, franchises, safe havens, support and sponsors."

He also reiterated India's commitment to implementing Paris Agreement in letter and spirit and described its implementation globally as essential to fighting climate change. He called for expeditious action to establish BRICS rating agency and stated that cooperation on development of Africa should be a priority. He also called for greater people-to-people exchanges.

In his speech, Xi also appreciated the momentum witnessed at the BRICS bloc during India's chairmanship before it was passed on to China, and praised India's strong resolve against terrorism, the press release said.

It quoted Xi as saying he appreciates India's success in economic and social development and wishes India even bigger success.

Chinese official news agency Xinhua said Xi urged BRICS countries to push for "peaceful settlement" of regional conflicts and disputes, and to consolidate the role of the G20 mechanism "as the premier platform for international economic cooperation."

Besides India and China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa are part of the BRICS grouping.

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