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Modi-Xi meeting on BRICS sidelines not yet confirmed, says India

LiveMint logoLiveMint 01-09-2017 Elizabeth Roche

India on Friday said it could not yet confirm a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, days before China is to host the 9th Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit in Xiamen early next week.

In response to questions from reporters, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said it was “a common practice” to have bilateral meetings between leaders on the sidelines of multilateral events.

“At this stage it is still developing, there are several factors involved. We will share with you as and when the meetings get confirmed... but I am not in a position to share the timings and the details of meetings which already have been confirmed,” said Kumar.

Prime Minister Modi will leave on Sunday for the summit. He is expected to take part in sessions spread over Monday and Tuesday, before leaving Xiamen on a bilateral visit to Myanmar on Tuesday.

Last Monday, India and China said they had resolved a military standoff on Bhutan’s Doklam plateau, one of their longest confrontations in the past two decades.

It is expected that a Modi-Xi meeting will take place in Xiamen on Monday, providing an opportunity for the two countries to stabilize ties, rocked in the wake of the Doklam standoff.

Asked about a comment from China on Thursday that it would not be appropriate for India to discuss Pakistan’s counterterrorism record at the BRICS Summit, Kumar said he could not pre-empt what PM Modi would say during his interventions at the restricted and plenary sessions of the summit.

“We noticed that India, when it comes to Pakistan’s counterterrorism, has some concerns. I don’t think this is an appropriate topic to be discussed at BRICS Summit,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

Kumar said India’s position on terrorism has been very clear and it has been raising the issue at various multilateral forums.

At the BRICS Summit in Goa last year, PM Modi had described Pakistan as the “mothership” of terrorism but disagreement among BRICS member countries had resulted in a joint statement not naming Pakistan-based terrorist groups. India accuses Pakistan of harbouring terrorist groups inimical to India, a charge Pakistan denies.

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