Johannesburg | Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed to Chinese President Xi Jinping India's concerns on the "unresolved" issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, underlining that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in border areas was essential for normalisation of India-China ties.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said this at a media briefing on Thursday, while sharing details of a conversation between the two leaders on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit as well as Modi's overall engagements in Johannesburg.
The foreign secretary said Modi and Xi agreed to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at "expeditious disengagement and de-escalation".
It is learnt that Modi-Xi conversation took place on Wednesday.
Kwatra said Modi had the conversation with Xi on the sidelines of the summit and highlighted India's concerns as well as of the importance of respecting the LAC for the normalisation of the relationship.
"On the sidelines of the BRICS summit, the prime minister had interactions with other BRICS leaders. In a conversation with President Xi Jinping of China, the prime minister highlighted India's concerns on unresolved issues along the LAC in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas," Kwatra said.
"The prime minister underlined that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and observing and respecting the LAC are essential for the normalisation of the India-China relationship," he said.
"In this regard, two leaders agreed to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and deescalation," Kwatra added.
The government refers to the eastern Ladakh region as Western Sector.
The foreign secretary did not reply to a question whether Modi invited Xi for the upcoming G20 summit in New Delhi.
It is understood that there was no structured bilateral meeting between Modi and Xi.
On Thursday, Modi and Xi were seen having brief exchanges as they walked towards the dais for a news conference.
Footage beamed by South Africa's public broadcaster SABC showed the two leaders again spoke again briefly and shook hands following the end of the press conference.
It was their first interaction in public after their brief encounter on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali in November last year.
The two leaders met briefly at a formal dinner hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo on November 16.
The ties between India and China came under severe strain following the eastern Ladakh border row that began in May, 2020.
The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year standoff in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.
India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC were key for normalisation of overall ties.
India and China held the 19th round of Corps Commander-level talks on August 13 and 14 with a focus on resolving pending issues at the standoff areas of Depsang and Demchok in eastern Ladakh.
A joint statement described the talks as "positive, constructive and in-depth" and that both sides agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner.
Days after the fresh round of high-level talks, the local commanders of the two militaries held a series of negotiations in two separate locations to resolve issues in Depsang Plains and Demchok.