Modi-Xi At G20: Will They Attempt To Diffuse The Sikkim Standoff?
Hopes that India and China may diffuse tensions over the military standoff in the China-Bhutan border were quashed on Thursday.
The foreign ministers of the two countries ruled out a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg. “The atmosphere is not right for a bilateral meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said earlier in the day. To make it clear that it had not sought a bilateral meeting, India said, "There is no change in the prime minister's schedule."
The two leaders, however, will come face to face in a meeting of leaders of the BRICS nations scheduled for Friday, on the sidelines of Summit.
Will they make an attempt to break the ice and diffuse the face-off in the Doklam region which has dragged for more than 20 days now?
“If that is the kind of diplomacy the Chinese are going to practice, then I think Modi will see him only if needed,” said Sushant Sareen, senior fellow at Vivekananda International Foundation.
It is also a game of chickens that the Chinese are playing to see if they can browbeat India, make us reach out to them. We will have to play it by the ear and see how it goes.Sushant Sareen, Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation
Reaching out to Chinese President was high on Modi’s list of priorities when he took office in 2014. On his trip to India, Xi Jinping was received outside national capital New Delhi in Ahmedabad and the two leaders were often photographed deep in conversation. The bonhomie continued when Modi visited China in 2015.
Manoj Joshi, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation is more optimistic that the two countries may break the ice. “The two leaders are by themselves quite capable of making some kind of a move,” he said.
They may not have a formal one-on-one meeting, But it’s quite possible that we may be surprised by something or the other.Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation
The two leaders are attending the G20 Summit in the backdrop of an extended standoff between the Chinese and Indian army in the Doklam region of Bhutan over China’s attempts to build a road in Bhutan’s territory. India has thwarted this attempt and sent in military reinforcements to the tri-junction, a PTI report said.