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Centre refutes China’s claim of Modi-Xi meeting taking place at India’s initiative

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday refuted China’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg happened at New Delhi’s request, saying that there was a “pending request from China’s side for a bilateral meeting”.

A pending request for a bilateral meeting was there from the Chinese side, government sources said.

They further added that both the leaders, however, had an “informal conversation” at the Leaders Lounge during the BRICS Summit at Johannesburg.

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A Chinese foreign ministry press statement issued earlier in the day said, “President Xi Jinping talked with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit at the latter’s request on August 23, 2023.”

“The two leaders had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on current China-India relations and other questions of shared interest. President Xi stressed that improving China-India relations serves the common interests of the two countries and peoples, and is also conducive to peace, stability and development of the world and the region. The two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of their bilateral relations and handle properly the border issue so as to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border region,” it added further.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra while addressing the media in Johannesburg on Thursday had said that both Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Jinping agreed to direct relevant officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation.

The prime minister underlined that maintenance of peace, tranquillity in the border areas and respecting LAC are essential for normalisation of India-China ties, Kwatra had said.

During his conversation with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, the prime minister highlighted India’s concerns on unresolved issues along the LAC, the foreign secretary had informed further.

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