Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are unlikely to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany, with Beijing saying on Thursday that “the atmosphere is not right” due to their border stand-off. The two leaders were expected to meet at the Hamburg summit in a bid to resolve the simmering border dispute in Sikkim. “The atmosphere is not right for a bilateral meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry made it more evident by saying that the “trespass” by Indian troops into Chinese territory “had damaged the political foundations of bilateral relations between China and India”.
“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, said. 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 Chinese official said that Beijing hopes that India will immediately withdraw the border troops to the Indian side of the boundary and uphold peace and tranquillity of the China-India border areas. “I think this is the pre-condition for any meaningful peace talks between the two sides,” the Chinese foreign Ministry official said, adding, “Only when India pulls back troops, the status quo will be restored”
The Chinese media, too kept up the offensive. In its sharpest comment since the Indian and Chinese troops scuffled in Doklam, the Global Times said on Wednesday that China must teach India “a bitter lesson”. The newspaper said in an editorial that China would inflict greater losses on India than it did in the 1962 war if New Delhi incited a military conflict.
Concluding a historic visit to Israel, Modi on Thursday left for Hamburg, Germany, to attend the G20 Summit. Breaking protocol, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu saw Modi off at the airport. “A historic visit, filled with many firsts and the promise of future ends as PM Netanyahu goes beyond protocol again to bid farewell to PM,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu laid floral wreaths at the Haifa Indian Cemetery that contains the graves of 49 Commonwealth servicemen killed in World War I, 44 of whom were Indians.