Modi, Xi may meet on the sidelines of SCO summit

New Delhi: India and China are weighing the first meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in almost three years, even as a chill remains in relations with an as-yet-unresolved border crisis and increasingly sharp recent exchanges between the two countries.

Both leaders are expected to be present at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in mid-September and at the G-20 meet in mid-November in Indonesia. A factor in India’s possible attendance at Tashkent is that India is taking over as the Chair of the SCO, with New Delhi hosting the summit in 2023, adding a layer of importance to Prime Minister Modi’s attendance.

New Delhi reluctantly hosted Foreign Minister Wang Yi in March as he visited the region, but conveyed a strong message that India would not accept China’s demand to keep the border “in an appropriate place” and restore relations.

India has since kept up that messaging in public. On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) backed the German Ambassador to India’s comments calling China’s claims on Arunachal Pradesh “outrageous” and its transgressions at the LAC a “violation of international law”. Responding to German envoy Phillip Ackerman’s comments, which had generated anger in Beijing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the international community has a “proper appreciation” of India’s stand on boundary issues.

Minister for External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar, in a speech in New Delhi on August 29, repeated for the third time in recent weeks India’s stand that normalcy in ties was predicated on normalcy on the border, a position he expressed last month during visits to Australia and Brazil, saying it was not “a conditionality we are imposing” but “stating the facts” on past agreements between the two sides. China’s military, for its part, last week cited those same agreements, which India has accused China of violating, to oppose upcoming India-U.S. high-altitude military exercises, calling them “meddling”.

The last meeting between PM Modi and President Xi was in Brazil in November 2019.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: The Indian Express)

Share this post