First handshake with Xi since Galwan, 'not an era of war' remark to Putin in draft communique: PM Modi's day at G20

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping shook hands Tuesday at a side event at the G20 Summit here, a gesture sparking interest because of the strained bilateral relations over a border clash two years back.

A live video feed for the media from the welcome dinner hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo for G20 delegates showed the brief exchange between the two leaders.

There had been some speculation over a possible bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the margins of the Group of 20 Summit, which began Tuesday. But the agenda made known by both sides so far does not mention such a meeting.

Modi and Xi, who were both attending the G20 dinner hosted by Indonesian President Widodo, exchanged courtesies at the conclusion of the dinner, official sources told PTI when asked about the interaction between the two leaders.

Since the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action, there have been no one-on-one meetings between the two leaders.

India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are important for the overall development of bilateral ties.

In September, Prime Minister Modi and President Xi came face-to-face at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Uzbek city of Samarkand for the first time since the start of the border standoff in eastern Ladakh.

No separate meeting is believed to have taken place between them there, though it is presumed they would have exchanged pleasantries.

In Bali, the handshake took place towards the end of the dinner. The two greeted each other as Xi walked by. They shook hands and the video showed a brief relaxed conversation before the camera moved elsewhere and the transmission ended.

The dinner was held at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park in a somewhat informal setting. G20 leaders watched dance performances as they dined.

Xi had a bilateral meeting Monday with US President Joe Biden, where the two appeared to have struck a conciliatory note, amid tensions over self-ruled Taiwan and other issues.

Modi is here to attend the G20 Summit at the invitation of Indonesian President Widodo. India is currently part of the G20 Troika (current, previous, and incoming G20 Presidencies) comprising Indonesia, Italy, and India.

PM’s ‘not an era of war’ remark to Putin in G20 draft communique

The G20 leaders are set to state that today’s era “must not be of war” at the summit in Bali, a British newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing a draft communique agreed by diplomats involved in the negotiations to finalise the document.

The key line on the Ukraine conflict in the draft communique almost echoes PM Modi’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin in September that ‘today’s era is not of war’.

There have been a series of negotiations among the diplomats of the G20 member countries over the formulation relating to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia and China are also members of the G-20 which operate on the principle of consensus.

In his bilateral meeting with Putin in Uzbekistan on 16 September, Modi said “today’s era is not of war” and nudged him to end the conflict.

The Indian delegation played a big role in achieving consensus among member states over the wording criticising the Russian invasion, the Financial Times (FT) said, citing two unnamed officials with knowledge of the negotiations.

PM Modi and several leaders of the G20 countries touched upon the Ukraine crisis in their remarks at the grouping’s summit that began in Bali on Tuesday.

World leaders will state that today’s era “must not be of war” at the G20 summit in Bali, according to a draft communique agreed by diplomats that also condemned threats of nuclear weapons use, the newspaper said.

“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war,” the draft statement said, according to FT.

The communique was agreed upon by country delegates on Monday night but must still be signed off by G20 leaders at the two-day summit, the report said.

The G20 “will make clear that Russia’s war is wreaking havoc for people everywhere”, the report said, quoting a senior US official.

An Indonesian official said discussions on the draft statement were “still dynamic” and might change, it said.

In his address at the summit, Modi on Tuesday referred to his repeated call for resolving the crisis through talks.

“I have repeatedly said that we have to find a way to return to the path of ceasefire and diplomacy in Ukraine. Over the past century, the Second World War wreaked havoc in the world,” he said.

Since the Ukraine conflict began in February, Prime Minister Modi spoke to Russian President Putin as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a number of times.

In a phone conversation with Zelenskyy on 4 October, Modi said that there can be “no military solution” and that India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts.

India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.

With inputs from PTI

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First handshake with Xi since Galwan, 'not an era of war' remark to Putin in draft communique: PM Modi's day at G20
First handshake with Xi since Galwan, 'not an era of war' remark to Putin in draft communique: PM Modi's day at G20
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