New Delhi: In their first meeting since China helped block India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday that stability in bilateral ties required both countries to respect each other’s national interests and concerns.
“The prime minister said that to ensure durable bilateral ties, and their steady development, it is of paramount importance that we respect each other’s aspirations, concerns and strategic interest,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters after the two leaders mer on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China.
Modi and Xi were meeting again after their last encounter on June 24 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. Since the June meeting took place just a few hours before the start of NSG plenary in Seoul, Modi had made a personal appeal to Xi for support for India’s membership application. In the end, China was unmoved, and India publicly singled out Beijing for being unhelpful in its public statement after the failure at Seoul.
Modi’s first appointment on arrival in China was with the host of the G20 summit. During their 35-minute meeting in China on Sunday, Modi brought up the need for India and China to be sensitive to each other’s strategic concerns at least twice.
“As a matter of principle, both countries would have to be sensitive to each other’s strategic interests,” Modi told Xi, as quoted by Swarup.
“In order to promote positive convergence, we would also need to prevent growth of negative perception. For this, the specific actions by both countries would play the major role,” he added.
During the recent visit of Chinese foreign minister to India, both sides had agreed to again discuss India’s application for membership of the NSG by instructing their official interlocutors on nuclear issues to talk to each other.
According to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Xi said that the two neighbours “should respect and care for each other on issues of major concern, and handle differences in a constructive way”.
China, Xi added, was willing to work with India to maintain their hard-won sound relations and further advance cooperation.
Asserting that India had worked to make progress in the bilateral relationship, Modi noted that the contentious land border has remained peaceful.
Stating that he had a strategic vision for India-China ties, Modi asserted that in order to make the Asian century a reality, the countries of the continent would have to take responsibility.
Later in answer to a question, Swarup added that Modi had reiterated Indian concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being constructed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Both leaders are again scheduled to meet next month for the BRICS leader’s summit in Goa, India.