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We didn’t ask for Modi-Xi meeting, no question of conducive atmosphere: India responds to China

China on Thursday ruled out the meeting saying atmosphere was not conducive for PM Modi and President Xi to meet in Hamburg on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2017 18:02 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, Jerusalem
Xi Modi,India,China
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with China's President Xi Jinping during the BRICS leaders' meeting in October 2016. (AFP File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to have a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg that begins Friday.

China on Thursday said the “atmosphere” was “not right” for a bilateral meeting, a reference to the standoff between the border guards of the two armies close to India’s northeastern border.

“But we did not ask for any meeting, so where is the question of atmosphere being conducive or not,” an Indian official, who is accompanying Modi to Israel, told HT on condition of anonymity.

There was no meeting planned between Modi and Xi, the Indian side said, adding the two countries were likely to allow their armies to resolve the Doklam stand-off.

“The atmosphere is not right for a bilateral meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi,” a Chinese foreign ministry official said in Beijing earlier in the day.

Read | Is China punishing India for its Belt and Road stance while testing Modi and Trump?

They could cross paths at the BRICS meeting on the sidelines of the two-day G-20 summit, Indian officials said, adding the two leaders already had a positive meeting last month on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Astana.

For more than three weeks, Indian and Chinese border guards are in a tense face-off, the longest between the two sides, in Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction over allegations and counter allegations of trespass and illegal construction of roads and bunkers.

China has accused Indian troops of trespassing into Doklam, which the Chinese refer to as Donglang, a disputed territory claimed by Bhutan.

China and its state-run media have been aggressive over the border impasse, even threatening war.

The Global Times went a step further on Thursday calling of Sikkim’s “independence” and separation from India. In an editorial, the nationalistic tabloid suggested Beijing should rally the world for the abolition of “unfair treaties” that New Delhi has allegedly forced Bhutan to sign.

“With certain conditions, Bhutan and Sikkim will see strong anti-India movements, which will negatively affect India’s already turbulent northeast area and rewrite southern Himalayan geopolitics,” the newspaper wrote.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jul 06, 2017 15:32 IST