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April 1, 2023


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In first since Galwan, Modi,  Xi  shake  hands

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands and spoke briefly at a formal dinner for G20 leaders in Bali on Tuesday—their first face-to-face encounter in public since the start of the military standoff in Ladakh more than two years ago.

Footage from the Indonesian presidential secretariat’s official YouTube channel showed Modi seated and conversing with US secretary of state Antony Blinken when Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan stopped nearby to speak with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Modi was seen getting up from his seat and shaking hands with Xi, who smiled.

Modi, flanked by an interpreter, then spoke to Xi for a few minutes.

Both leaders, who were wearing batik shirts, were soon joined by external affairs minister S. Jaishankar.

Several people gathered around the two leaders and began capturing the moment with their mobile phone cameras.

There was no word from Indian officials on the encounter at Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. There was also no readout from the Chinese side.

A person familiar with the matter said: “Prime minister and President Xi, who were both attending the G20 dinner hosted by the Indonesian president, exchanged courtesies at the conclusion of the dinner.”

The Indian and Chinese leaders avoided each other the last time they were at an in-person multilateral meeting—the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit at Samarkand in Uzbekistan during 15-16 September.

People familiar with the matter said both the sides had not made any effort for a formal bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

India-China relations have been at an all-time low since the start of the standoff in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

A brutal clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020 resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops—the first fatalities along the LAC since 1975.

China has said that the border tensions should be separated from the overall bilateral relationship. Jaishankar has consistently maintained India-China ties cannot be normalized till there is peace and tranquillity on the border.

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