Day after Chinese foreign ministry statement, MEA confirms Modi-Xi discussed stabilising ties at Bali

Day after Chinese foreign ministry statement, MEA confirms Modi-Xi discussed stabilising ties at Bali

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping did discuss the need to stabilise bilateral relations at the G20 summit in Bali last November, a day after China’s foreign ministry claimed that the two leaders reached a “consensus” on the issue at the time.

That the two leaders spoke about the border situation at the summit was not mentioned by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra during his briefing to the press in Bali on 16 November 2022.

At a weekly press briefing Thursday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “During the Bali G20 summit last year, foreign secretary [Kwatra] had held a briefing and said that Prime Minister and President Xi Jinping, at the conclusion of that dinner hosted by the Indonesian President, exchanged courtesies and also spoke of the need to stabilise our bilateral relations.”

However, after a follow-up question, the MEA spokesperson clarified that the foreign secretary had left out the part about the two leaders speaking about the border situation back in November.

“I think foreign secretary didn’t mention this second part. He did talk about exchanging courtesies and I think there was a general discussion about stabilising our bilateral relations,” Bagchi said.

He added: “As you are aware, we have steadfastly maintained that the Kyoto resolution of this whole issue is to resolve the situation along the LAC on the western sector of the India-China boundary and to restore peace and tranquility in the border areas.”

Last November, Modi and Xi shook hands and spoke briefly at a formal dinner for G20 leaders in Bali — their first face-to-face interaction since the Galwan Valley clash in Ladakh two years prior.

During a press briefing after the dinner, Kwatra answered questions about the handshake, adding that the two leaders only “exchanged courtesies” at the conclusion of the dinner.

On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry claimed that two leaders had reached a “consensus” on the issue during their brief interaction at the G20 dinner. The text of this press statement is not available on the English portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website of China. (The Print)

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