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Thursday 23 January 2020

Modi-Xi agree to maintain ‘momentum’ in ties

One of the important issues which Prime Minister Modi raised with President Xi at his previous meetings is of how the two sides can enhance Indian exports to China particularly agricultural exports

Johannesburg: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that the Chinese defence minister will visit India next month as part of the efforts to maintain the “momentum” generated by their recent meetings.

Modi, who is here to attend the BRICS Summit, met Xi for the third time in nearly three months on Thursday evening after their two-day informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late April and a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Qingdao, China in June.

“It is important to maintain this momentum and for this, we should, at our level, regularly review our relationship and give proper instructions whenever required,” Modi told Xi in his opening remarks.

President Xi said that the Chinese side is ready to work with the Indian side to carry forward the fresh impetus of bilateral relations since their informal meeting in Wuhan, China’s State-run Xinhua news agency reported.

At Wuhan, Modi and Xi had decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications to build trust and understanding, a move aimed at avoiding a Doklam-like situation in the future.

Briefing the reporters about the meeting, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders reaffirmed their readiness to give the necessary direction to their militaries to enhance communication between them and to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.

Prime Minister Modi also expressed his willingness to send Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to China this year for the Special Representative-level boundary talks, he said.

Gokhale said the two sides had agreed at Qingdao that the Chinese ministers for defence and public security would travel to India this year.

In Beijing, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang confirmed that State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe “plans to pay a friendly official visit to India” at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman.

President Xi once again conveyed to Prime Minister Modi that he is very happy to accept his invitation to visit India for an informal summit, the second one, next year and both sides also agreed to follow up on a number of issues, the foreign secretary added.

One of the important issues which Prime Minister Modi raised with President Xi at his previous meetings is of how the two sides can enhance Indian exports to China particularly agricultural exports.

Prime Minister Modi also mentioned about the pharma sector and cited a Chinese movie titled ‘Dying to Survive’ which is based loosely on the role that the Indian cancer drugs play in saving the life of the main character of the movie, Gokhale said, adding that it was decided that an Indian pharmaceutical delegation will visit Shanghai, China on 21 August and 22 for talks.

President Xi and Prime Minister Modi will meet again at the margins of the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of this year.

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