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Transcript (uncorrected) of Media Briefing by Foreign Secretary in Xiamen on Prime Minister’s Bilateral Meeting with Xi Jinping, President of China on the sidelines of BRICS-2017 (September 05, 2017)

September 05, 2017

Foreign Secretary, Dr. S Jaishankar: This meeting just finished. This was the last bilateral. Prime Minister just finished meeting President Xi Jinping. At the conclusion of the BRICS Summit and emerging market and developing country meeting today.

The meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister lasted to a little more than an hour. The first part of the meeting was largely focused on BRICS related issues which was quite understandable. China had been very supportive of India when we were doing BRICS summit and we also were reciprocated in full measure. So there was that sense of mutual support in terms of the BRICS.

During this period in the preparations for the BRICS actually we had seven ministers from India come to China in that connection. Some of it was appreciation for PM’s vision of the BRICS. Both sides have spoken of the golden decade for BRICS, how BRICS can really be raised to the next level. So there was a lot of discussion on that.

Then the discussions moved to bilateral relations and I would characterize the approach of two sides as forward looking approach and I think essentially the discussions themselves were constructive about where the relationship should be going and will be going. There was a reminder that in Astana during early June that we would not let differences become disputes. And at a time when the world is changing we would make sure that India-China relations were a factor of stability and that was re-affirmed in many ways.

One of the important points which was again made during the meeting was that peace and tranquility in the border areas was a prerequisite for the further development of our relationships and that there should be more efforts made to really enhance and strengthen the level of mutual trust between the two sides.

It is natural that between neighbors and large powers, there would be areas of difference but where there is an area of difference, it should be handled with mutual respect and efforts should be made to find common grounds in addressing those areas and specifically with regards to defence,the personnel involved in defence and security must maintain strong contacts and cooperation and ensure that the sort of situation which happened recently do not recur.

The President and the Prime Minister laid out a very positive view of where our relationship could go and there was some detailed discussion about the mechanism which could help both countries really go forward in that direction. Both inter-governmental mechanisms like we have a joint economic group, we have a defence and security group, we have a strategic group as well as institutions like the BRICS itself, like AIIB, these are mechanisms and forums which can be used to build a relationship.

So over all, I think the read out I would give you is a sort of forward looking constructive relationship and a very strong affirmation at the leadership level that it is really in the interest of both countries to keep the relationship forward and on an upward trajectory.

So that is the read out I would like to give you. I can take a few questions but you will have to bear with me as we have a flight to catch.

Question:On the issue of counter-terrorism there has been a positive movement and for the first time listing of terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, was there any discussion on that? Any forward movement on Maulana Masood Azhar as for the 1267 Committee and the sanctions, any positive movement from China?

Foreign Secretary, Dr. S Jaishankar:
I think the counter terrorism issues were largely taken up in the discussions leading to the BRICS, they were not addressed in today’s meeting and the broad sense of those discussions was really was that most countries feel very similarly about the challenges posed by terrorism, so this was not just an India position, it was a common position and many other countries had actually equally strong views on this. So the listing that you see and the statements and commitments that are there in the BRICS statement, these are common commitments of all BRICS members.

Question:In terms of terrorism, in the bilateral context, was terrorism raised, was the Asian concerns regarding terrorism emanating from Pakistan raised at all?

Foreign Secretary, Dr. S Jaishankar: In Today’s bilateral between Prime Minister and President Xi this specific issue did not come up.

Question:You mentioned that both principals in light of recent events said there is a need for the defence and border personnel to be in greater touch, could you elaborate on this?

Foreign Secretary, Dr. S Jaishankar:I would like to give you the sense of direction, the nature of the discussion and the direction of ties, I don’t think it would be right for me to characterize specific position. On both sides there was a sense that more efforts need to be made to ensure that these kind of situations don’t recur.

Question:Can we say that we have moved ahead from Doklam without mentioning the word?

Foreign Secretary, Dr. S Jaishankar:Again I repeat to you that it was a forward looking meeting. There was a sense that if the relationship is to go forward then peace and tranquility on the border area should be maintained.

Question:Did he talk about the so called illegal trespass of Indian soldiers in Doklam, did he raise that point?

Foreign Secretary, Dr. S Jaishankar: Again I repeat to you, both of us know what happened, so this was not a backward looking conversation, this was a forward looking conversation. The sense of it was how do we take the relationship forward, how do we ensure that there is peace and tranquility on the border areas to ensure that the relationship stays forward, how do we ensure mutual contacts and mutual trust strengthens so that there is peace and tranquility on the border areas. So that was the direction in which the discussions took place. Thank you very much.

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