PM Modi meets Chinese President Xi Jinping on sidelines of BRICS Summit

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Johannesburg:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a “very productive” meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday during which he emphasised the need to maintain the “momentum” generated by their recent meetings and provide “proper instructions” to their militaries to maintain peace at the border.

Mr. Modi, who is here to attend the 10th BRICS Summit, met Mr. Xi for the third time in nearly three months.

The two leaders held a two-day informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late April and then they met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Qingdao, China in June.

Recalling his recent meetings with Mr. Xi, Prime Minister Modi said they have 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,” Mr. Modi told Mr. Xi in his opening remarks.

At Wuhan, both Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi had decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications to build trust and understanding, a move aimed at avoiding a Doklam-like situation in the future.

Mr. Modi said Thursday’s meeting has provided one more opportunity to them to strengthen their closer developmental partnership.

Later, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders had a“very productive” meeting during which they reaffirmed their readiness to give the necessary direction to their militaries to enhance communication between them and to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.

Mr. Gokhale said Prime Minister Modi expressed his willingness to send National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to China this year for the Special Representative-level boundary talks.

“Both the leaders made a reference to their informal summit meeting in Wuhan in April as well as the subsequent follow up meeting in Qingdao in June. They were particularly satisfied with the efforts being made by the officials of the two sides to strengthen bilateral engagements and to implement some of the understandings and decisions that the two leaders had reached at Wuhan,” he told reporters.

He said the prime minister saw the meeting as yet another instance where the two sides could review and upgrade their relationship. “Both leaders also remarked that in the last few months mutual trust has increased between the two sides,” he said.

President Xi once again conveyed to Prime Minister Modi that he is very happy to accept his invitation to visit India for an informal summit, the second one, next year and both sides also agreed to follow up on a number of issues, he said.

“At Qingdao, both sides had agreed that the Chinese ministers for defence and public security would visit to India this year. At today’s meeting, it was decided that these two visits would take place in August and October, respectively,” the foreign secretary added.

They also agreed that the high-level people-to-people mechanism which would be established between the two sides will also meet this year, he said.

One of the important issues which Prime Minister Modi raised with President Xi at his previous meetings is of how the two sides can enhance Indian exports to China particularly agricultural exports.

“It has been decided that an Indian trade delegation will be travelling to China on August 1 and 2. Among the issues they will discuss are exports of soya, sugar and non-basmati rice and they will also look at the possible import of urea from China,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi also mentioned the pharma sector and cited a Chinese movie titled Dying to Survive, which is based loosely on the role that the Indian cancer drugs play in saving the life of the main character of the movie, Mr. Gokhale said.

“It was decided that an Indian pharmaceutical delegation will visit Shanghai, China on August 21 and 22,” he added.

The two leaders will meet again at the margins of the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of this year, he said.

Both leaders agreed on the necessity of ensuring that their decisions were implemented on the ground in order to ensure progress, he added.

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