India and China are set to host bilateral talks on the sidelines of a summit of the BRICS emerging market powers in Johannesburg next week as they continue to wrangle over a disputed border.
(Bloomberg) — India and China are set to host bilateral talks on the sidelines of a summit of the BRICS emerging market powers in Johannesburg next week as they continue to wrangle over a disputed border.
“I am confident that as two nations, two countries, we will have direct talks, direct meetings,” at the Aug. 22-24 summit, Chen Xiaodong, China’s ambassador to South Africa, told journalists in the capital, Pretoria, on Friday. “I cannot say there is tension between us, but as neighboring countries we have many common interests at the same time we have some problems.”
This week, Indian and Chinese army commanders agreed to work swiftly toward easing their border dispute, which included a deadly clash in 2020. While the talks didn’t amount to a breakthrough, they did open the door for progress in negotiations between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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The summit of the leaders of the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — is set to be dominated by negotiations on expanding the bloc, with dozens of countries lining up to join. India and Brazil initially expressed reservations about an expansion, but later agreed to it on condition that an agreement is reached on the rules and criteria.
Envoys from the five nations began meeting on Thursday to finalize an accord that will be referred to foreign ministers and finally to leaders for approval.
“China firmly supports BRICS expansion,” Chen said. “I don’t know what the exact numbers of countries will join the BRICS this time, but definitely there will be good progress, good results for expansion.”
India’s Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment.
–With assistance from Sudhi Ranjan Sen.
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