India and China have reached an agreement to ease tensions along their disputed border, following a conversation between their leaders during the Brics summit held in South Africa. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping engaged in talks to address the escalating situation between the two countries. The dialogue, initiated at Mr. Modi’s request, reflects the urgency of the matter. Over the past three years, India-China relations have been deteriorating, primarily due to conflicts along their shared 3,440km border in the Himalayan region, referred to as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the Brics summit in Johannesburg, signifies a potential step towards reconciliation. The Brics alliance, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, often acts as a counterbalance to Western-dominated geopolitics. Both leaders concurred on the need to restore peace and stability along the border, recognising its significance for normalising bilateral relations.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra conveyed that Prime Minister Modi emphasised the importance of respecting the LAC and ensuring calm in the border regions. As a result, the two leaders have instructed their respective officials to intensify efforts to promptly disengage and de-escalate the situation.
China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement highlighting the substantial exchange of views between Xi and Modi regarding the current state of China-India relations and other mutual concerns. President Xi emphasised the value of strengthening bilateral ties for the interests of both nations and global peace, stability, and development. The statement urged both sides to approach the border issue in a way that safeguards tranquilly in the region.
Interestingly, the conversation took place without interpreters or note-takers present, underscoring the direct and candid nature of the discussion. This development follows their previous meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in 2022.
Additionally, President Xi’s anticipated attendance at the upcoming G20 summit hosted by India in September could have further diplomatic implications. In conclusion, the talks mark a significant step towards addressing the ongoing border tensions and fostering a more stable relationship between India and China.