No Modi-Xi bilateral meet was planned in Hamburg, clarifies government

Modi with jinping

HIGHLIGHTS

  • It’s not correct that China ‘cancelled’ meeting, MEA said
  • No meeting was scheduled between Xi and Modi, Baglay said
  • Scheduled meetings were with leaders from Argentina, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, RoK, UK and Vietnam.

TEL AVIV: After completing a successful maiden visit to Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is turning his attention to both the G20 summit in Hamburg and the ongoing India-China stand-off in Doklam, which remains unyielding after three weeks.

So far, there is no bilateral meeting scheduled between Xi Jinping and Modi in Hamburg. A BRICS meeting has been pencilled in on the sidelines of the tightly-packed G20 sessions.

“So far, there is nothing on a bilateral meeting, but everything is fluid,” said top Indian officials.

Responding to reports from Beijing that China had “cancelled” a scheduled meeting between Xi and Modi, Indian officials said no such meeting had been planned.

MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the only meetings scheduled were with leaders from Argentina, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, RoK, UK and Vietnam. This is in addition to BRICS meeting.

In the past week, China has upped the ante in rhetorical terms. Their public statements as well as official media reports are increasingly becoming harsh and shrill. India has been a lot more circumspect. This week, the Chinese embassy even circulated a video “briefing” to Indian journalists to put forward the Chinese point of view.

While both sides would like the temperature to go down, India wants to ensure that China does not take on adventurous expeditions to change ground positions in disputed areas, or be able to bully small countries like Bhutan.

In the Chumbi valley area, the site of the current stand-off, India stands on a better position. Military sources feel, standing down at this point would give China a straight pass all the way to the Siliguri Corridor “chicken’s neck”. It would also send a message to Bhutan and other small neighbours that when push comes to shove, India is not willing to take the heat. So, India will remain where it is, in the absence of reasonable negotiations.

On the Chinese side, Xi cannot be seen to be backing down, particularly as he is taking a big hit on the North Korea front, and facing, as he does, the 19th party congress in October, where he is expected to assume even greater powers.It is not a good position on either side, but Indian officials say it was precipitated by China disregarding agreements on tri-junction and moving in.

 Ultimately, the political conversation will be determined by the military balance on the ground, and the interest on either side try out a military option. So far, that does not appear to be the case on either side.

 

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