Modi meets Xi

Putting behind the 73-day Doklam stand-off, India and China resolved to maintain strong contacts between the defence and security mechanisms to avoid any recurrence of such situations and maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders.

During an hour-long meeting on the fringes of the BRICS summit in Xiamen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to “shelve differences“ and “make more efforts to enhance mutual trust“ between the two sides.

“The two leaders felt that military personnel must maintain strong contacts and cooperation and ensure that the sort of situations which happened recently do not re-occur,“ Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar told reporters after the meeting.

“One of the important points made during the meeting was that peace and tranquillity in the border areas was a prerequisite for further development of our relationship,“ Jaishankar said.

The Chinese side also emphasised on the convergence of views, with foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang quoting Xi as telling Modi that “China would like to work with India to uphold the five principles of peaceful coexistence (Panchsheel), advance political mutual trust, mutually beneficial cooperation and move forward the development of bilateral relations along the right track“.

Geng said that during the meeting, “President Xi stressed that China and India are each other's opportunities, not threats“.

Asked specifically if the Doklam stand-off cropped up during the meeting, Jaishankar said: “Both of us know what happened. This (the conversation) was not a backward-looking conversation, this was a forward-looking conversation.“

The Modi-Xi meeting, the first since the Doklam crisis, was initially scheduled to be 30 minutes long but stretched to an hour as the two leaders adopted what Jaishankar called a “forward-looking approach“, besides emphasising the importance of cooperation among BRICS countries and the need to take it to another level. India's foreign secretary Jaishankar said, “It is natural that between neighbours and large powers there would be areas of difference. But where there is an area of difference, it should be handled with mutual respect and efforts should be made to find common ground in addressing those areas.“

India and China “need to show to the world that peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries“, the Chinese spokesperson said.

The meeting came barely days after the resolution of the Doklam stand-off which finally witnessed simultaneous disengagement of troops on the border after tense eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation for nearly two and a half months.

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