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PM Modi, Chinese prez Xi seen having brief exchanges in Johannesburg

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping were on Thursday seen having brief exchanges ahead of a media briefing by the BRICS leaders in Johannesburg.

Modi and Xi are in the South African city of Johannesburg to attend the annual summit of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa).

Video footage aired by a South African broadcaster showed Modi and Xi having a brief exchange.

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There was no official comment on the exchange by either side.

Ahead of the start of the BRICS summit, there was speculation about the possibility of a bilateral meeting between Modi and Xi in Johannesburg.

Modi is travelling to Greece on Thursday evening after concluding his engagements in the South African city.

The prime minister and the Chinese president had a brief encounter at a dinner during the G20 summit in Bali in November last year.

The ties between India and China came under severe strain following the eastern Ladakh border row that began in May 2020.

Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year standoff in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

India and China held the 19th round of Corps Commander-level talks on August 13 and 14 with a focus on resolving pending issues at the standoff areas of Depsang and Demchok in eastern Ladakh.

A joint statement described the talks as “positive, constructive and in-depth” and that both sides agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner.

Days after the fresh round of high-level talks, the local commanders of the two militaries held a series of negotiations in two separate locations to resolve issues in Depsang Plains and Demchok.

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