Modi and Xi meeting: India and China agree to 'de-escalate' border tensions

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd L), South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (2nd R), and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) attend the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 24, 2023
Mr Xi and Mr Modi met on the sidelines of the Brics summit in Johannesburg

India and China have agreed to de-escalate tensions along their disputed border after a conversation between its leaders, a senior Indian official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping spoke on the sidelines of the Brics summit in South Africa on Wednesday.

Beijing said the meeting was held at Mr Modi's request.

Relations between India and China have been worsening for more than three years.

The two world powers are facing off against each other along their ill-defined 3,440km (2,100-mile)-long border - known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) - in the Himalayan region.

Mr Xi and Mr Modi met on the sidelines of the Brics summit in Johannesburg. The Brics countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are often seen as a counterweight to the Western-led world.

On Thursday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that both sides had agreed to step up efforts for the disengagement of troops along the LAC.

"The Prime Minister underlined that maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and observing and respecting the LAC are essential for the normalisation of the India-China relationship," Mr Kwatra said.

"In this regard, the two leaders agreed to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation," he added.

China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that 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 statement said.

It also added: "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."

According to The Indian Express newspaper, no interpreters or note-takers were around when the two leaders spoke to each other.

Mr Xi and Mr Modi last spoke on the sidelines of the G20 summit in 2022.

Mr Xi is expected to arrive in India for the G20 summit hosted by Delhi on 9 and 10 September.

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