Hamburg: Amid a border standoff between their armies and a day after either side had rejected the possibility of a ‘pull aside’ meeting between their two leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday shook hands on the sidelines of an informal BRICS leaders’ meeting. Both are in Hamburg to attend the G20 Summit.
In a tweet, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said Modi and Xi discussed “a range of issues” at the BRICS leaders’ informal gathering in Hamburg “hosted by China.” Baglay didn’t elaborate on the details, or whether the military standoff between China and India in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction came up for discussion.
Modi-Xi meeting comes a day after the Chinese foreign ministry had said in Beijing the “atmosphere” is “not right” for a formal bilateral meeting between the two leaders in Hamburg. New Delhi had reported how such a meeting has not been sought. In New Delhi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Why is our Prime Minister silent on China?”
According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, in his remarks at the informal BRICS leaders’ meeting, the Chinese President urged the BRICS countries to push for “peaceful settlement” of regional disputes. The Xinhua report didn’t elaborate on whether Xi went into any details of these regional disputes.
In his address, Modi “appreciated” momentum in the bloc under the Chinese chairmanship and extended full cooperation for the grouping’s upcoming summit to be hosted by in the Chinese city of Xiamen later this year. “Under Xi’s chairmanship, the progress and positive momentum of BRICS has further deepened our cooperation,” Modi said.
A Ministry of External Affairs press statement quoted Modi as saying that G20 nations, which includes the five BRICS nations, should also “collectively oppose terrorism financing, franchises, safe havens, support, and sponsors.”
In his speech, Xi also appreciated the momentum witnessed at the BRICS bloc during India’s chairmanship before it was passed on to China, and praised India’s strong resolve against terrorism, the press release said. It quoted Xi as saying he appreciates India’s success in economic and social development and wishes India even bigger success.
Besides India and China, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa are part of the BRICS grouping.
In his address at the G20 Summit, Modi said some countries were using terror as a tool to achieve political objectives and pressed for “deterrent” action collectively by the G20 members against such nations. The PM equated Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohamamd as also the Haqqani network to ISIS and Al-Qaeda, saying their names may be different but their ideology is the same.
The PM regretted that the international response to terrorism was weak and said more cooperation was needed to fight the menace. The Indian prime minister presented an 11-point ‘Action Agenda’ which included suggestions for an exchange of lists of terrorists among G-20 nations, easing and expediting of legal processes like extradition and concrete steps to choke funds and weapon supply to the terrorists.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other mechanisms to choke sources of-of funds to terrorists should be strengthened, he said. On the pattern of FATF, a body Explosives Action Task Force (EATF) should be constituted “so that the sources of deadly arms reaching the terrorists can be ended,” Modi said.