In a significant development, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping engaged in discussions on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. Both leaders agreed to instruct their respective officials to intensify efforts toward a swift disengagement and de-escalation along the India-China border.
During their conversation, Prime Minister Modi conveyed India’s concerns about unresolved issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector of the border. Emphasizing the importance of upholding peace and stability in the border areas and respecting the LAC, Modi highlighted that these factors are crucial for normalizing the overall India-China relationship.
This marks the first instance where the Indian Prime Minister directly raised the border issue with the Chinese President, a stance that India has reiterated on multiple occasions. Notably, Modi and Xi had an impromptu interaction during the G20 Summit in Indonesia last year, during which they exchanged pleasantries and discussed the need to stabilize bilateral ties, as confirmed by the Indian government.
While China has attempted to separate the border dispute from its broader relationship with India, New Delhi continues to view it as a significant obstacle. Despite approximately 19 rounds of diplomatic and military talks that have yielded gradual progress, there has been no confirmation of troop withdrawals on the ground.
Between 2014 and 2019, Xi and Modi had 18 meetings, but direct discussions were largely avoided after the commencement of the border dispute. Although they crossed paths at various international gatherings, formal talks remained limited.
The border issue has considerably eroded India’s confidence in its relations with China, causing a decline in both public and political willingness to sustain the bilateral relationship. This sentiment was conveyed by India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to his Chinese counterpart and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the BRICS meeting in July, as stated by the Ministry of External Affairs.