G-20 Summit: PM Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping Shake Hands On Sidelines

There has been no one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping since the Ladakh standoff began in 2020.

PM Narendra Modi meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at BRICS Summit in Johannesburg in 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Modi and Xi shook hands and appeared to have a conversation in a live video feed from the welcome dinner ho.sted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo for G20 delegates.

The incident has sparked speculation over a possible thaw in icy India-China relations since 2020 when Chinese soldiers crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh and occupied Indian territories at multiple places. Later in June, Chinese soldiers entered into a skirmish with Indian soldiers in Galwan of Eastern Ladakh. Twenty Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed in the clashes. 

There has been no one-on-one meeting between  Modi and Xi since the beginning of Ladakh standoff. Despite speculation, there is no formal indication so far if any meeting between Modi and Xi is planned in Bali.

India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC are important for the overall development of bilateral ties. Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar has repeatedly stated that peace at the border is the basis of the broader bilateral relationship and that the broader relationship can not be separated or isolated from the situation at the border. 

Earlier, there had been some speculation over a possible bilateral meeting between Modi and Xi on the margins of the Group of 20 Summit, which began Tuesday. But the agenda made known by both sides so far does not mention such a meeting.

In September, Modi and Xi came face-to-face at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Uzbek city of Samarkand for the first time since the start of the border standoff in Eastern Ladakh. No separate meeting is believed to have taken place between them there, though it is presumed they would have exchanged pleasantries.

In Bali, the handshake took place towards the end of the dinner. The two greeted each other as Xi walked by. They shook hands and the video showed a brief relaxed conversation, before the camera moved elsewhere and the transmission ended.

The dinner was held at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park in a somewhat informal setting. G-20 leaders watched dance performances as they dined.

Xi had a bilateral meeting on Monday with US President Joe Biden, where the two appeared to have struck a conciliatory note, amid tensions over self-ruled Taiwan and other issues. Modi held a bilateral meeting with Biden on Tuesday.

Modi is in Bali to attend the G-20 Summit at the invitation of Indonesian President Widodo. India is currently part of the G-20 Troika (current, previous, and incoming G20 Presidencies) comprising Indonesia, Italy, and India. The next G-20 Summit will be held in India.

(With PTI inputs)