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PM Modi, Xi Jinping set to meet at G20 summit in Germany amid talk of war by Chinese experts

The Indian and Chinese border troops are in a more than two-week-old standoff at Doklam located at the the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2017 15:59 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
PM Modi,Xi Jinping,India China border
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping take part in a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Kazakhstan.(PIB via AFP File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week at the G20 summit in Hamburg in Germany amid a military standoff between the two countries with Chinese experts saying war could be a possibility.

A Chinese deputy foreign minister said the meeting would be part of the informal talks among leaders of five major emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

“According to the usual practice, BRICS leaders will hold an informal meeting ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg,” Li Baodong, vice minister of foreign affairs, told reporters at the weekend.

Chinese President Xi Jinping left Beijing on Monday for state visits to Russia and Germany which is hosting the 12th G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7 and 8.

Read | India planned intrusion to impress US during Modi-Trump meeting: Chinese media on Sikkim standoff

Later Monday, Beijing seemed to pile on diplomatic pressure with the foreign ministry saying that the Sino-India border in the Sikkim sector is well demarcated and the Indian Army’s action there is a “betrayal” of the position taken by successive Indian governments.

Modi and Xi had met at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana in

Kazakhstan in June when India and Pakistan were admitted to the security-focused bloc.

By the time Modi and Xi met in Astana, the border troops from both countries could have already been locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation near the Sikkim border.

The situation has since worsened with reports saying hundreds of troops from both sides being called in as reinforcements.

India has said the situation was triggered after Chinese personnel crossed into Indian territory in early June.

Last week, the Indian government said that New Delhi was “deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions” of trying to construct a road at Doklam, (Donglang) which is situated at the strategic tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan. China and Bhutan have an ongoing territorial dispute in the region.

Meanwhile, Chinese experts told state media that if the situation isn’t “handled properly”, it could lead to a war.

“China will resolutely safeguard its border sovereignty in conflicts with Indian troops even at the cost of war,” state-run Global Times daily quoted Chinese experts as saying.

Read | Sikkim standoff: India pushes troops in Doka La in longest impasse since 1962

“There could be a chance of war if the recent conflict between China and India is not handled properly,” the Global Times report said.

“China is also different from what it was in 1962,” Wang Dehua, from the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies said reacting to defence minister Arun Jaitley’s comment that India of 2017 is different from what it was in 1962.

“If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different and the India of 2017 is different,” Jaitley had said.

First Published: Jul 03, 2017 15:59 IST