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BRICS Xiamen Summit: Ahead of Modi-Xi meeting, China agrees to keep Doklam issue out of ambit of talks

The focus of talks will be on taking the Indo-Chinese relationship forward when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping meet on Tuesday

Reported by: Manish Jha, Xiamen (China) [Updated:04 Sep 2017, 8:47 AM IST]
Chinese President Xi Jinping greets Prime Minister Narendra
Chinese President Xi Jinping greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi ta BRICS SummitPhoto:PTI

In what comes as a significant diplomatic win for India ahead of the likely meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has agreed to keep the Doklam issue off the agenda of the talks, sources told India TV. The development assumes significance as it signifies keeping peace and development ahead of confrontation and disagreements.

​Modi and Jinping are likely to meet on Tuesday afternoon on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China. This meeting assumes significance in view of the backdrop of the 74-day diplomatic crisis that was de-escalated just days ahead of Modi’s visit to the Summit that China is hosting.

Reliable sources informed India TV that China has agreed to keep the Doklam issue off from the table when Modi and Jinping come together for talks. The focus of both countries in all talks and meetings that are held during the summit will be on the future of the relationship between the two countries after Doklam, they said.  

The development marks a climbdown for China which had kept up the rhetoric even after the de-escalation of the standoff. Chinese media, which forms a significant tool for its propaganda, kept up the offensive – be it in terms of claiming the pullback of Indian troops from the Doklam region as its victory, or in asserting that its Army would keep patrolling the border to exercise what it termed at protecting its territorial sovereignty.

The climbdown, experts said, could be part of a strategy by China keeping in view the significance it attaches to the BRICS Summit.

‘Need peace, not conflict’

Indications of a thaw in ties came soon after Modi’s touchdown in Xiamen for the Summit. Day before his likely meeting with PM Modi, Jinping emphasized on the need for “peace and cooperation”, not “conflict and confrontation”.

In a statement, Jinping stressed on taking a holistic approach to fighting terrorism in all its forms as the need of the hour. “People around the world want peace and cooperation, not conflict or confrontation," he said in his address at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum as the annual summit of the five-member grouping, comprising Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa.

“We, BRICS countries, should shoulder our responsibilities to uphold global peace and stability. Peace and development both reinforce each other,” he said.

"Given the difference in national conditions, history and cultures, it is only natural we may have some differences in pursuing our cooperation," President Xi said in his address to the business forum.

Confidence-building measures

Keeping Doklam out of the purview of talks between the two nation’s leaders signals an approach that is more focused at taking cooperation and ties between India and China forward, a turnaround from the past few months that saw ties decline.

New Delhi had indicated that India’s approach will be on repairing the damage done to the relationship, and would dwell on “confidence-building” measures. Efforts will be made to “bury” the incident that has cast a shadow on the ties, reports said, citing sources.  

China agreeing to keep the Doklam issue on the back-burner – at least for now – comes across as a step in that direction.