Fortaleza (Brazil)/New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday met Chinese President Xi Jinping and called for a solution to the “boundary question” as the two countries sought to expand their economic relations and rectify the trade imbalance.
In his first meeting with Xi since becoming prime minister, Modi called for enhanced Chinese investment in India’s infrastructure as the two leaders engaged in a freewheeling discussion and focused on building personal rapport in the discussion that went beyond the scheduled time.
China invited Modi to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in November, the first time India has been invited for the meet.
The meeting took place within hours of Modi and Xi arriving at Fortaleza in Brazil for the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — leaders’ summit. Modi is also scheduled to have meetings with other leaders.
Modi said if India and China could amicably resolve the boundary question, it would set an example for the world in peaceful conflict resolution. He also hoped that trade imbalance will be resolved and called for the two countries to work together against terrorism and extremism in the region.
Underscoring the importance of bilateral relations, Xi said: “When India and China meet, the whole world watches.”
“Both leaders went straight into their first meeting here, indicating the importance that both give to this relationship and to their discussions,” External Affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
The meeting, which was scheduled for about 30-40 minutes, lasted almost 80 minutes.
“The effort was to have a freewheeling discussion. The focus was on establishing a personal rapport. And I think that worked very well because both the leaders seemed to have prepared very well for this meeting,” Akbaruddin said.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said the two leaders observed that India and China had enormous opportunities to forge mutually beneficial partnerships and serve as catalytic agents of Asian and global prosperity.
Both sides emphasised the need to find a solution to the boundary question, it said.
“The prime minister stressed the importance of strengthening mutual trust and confidence, and maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border.”
It said Xi accepted for consideration Modi’s suggestion for an additional route for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, given the difficult terrain of the existing route.