After Doklam Standoff, all eyes on India-China at BRICS Summit: 10 points

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in China to attend a summit of BRICS — a grouping of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — has said he is looking for “productive discussions and positive outcomes”. The three-day summit — to be held in the coastal city of Xiamen — comes days after India and China ended the 73-day stand-off at Doklam near Sikkim border. In its backdrop, the bilateral meeting between the leaders of the two nations is expected to draw more attention than the economic agenda.

Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this big story:
  1. “Reached Xiamen for BRICS Summit. Looking forward to the Summit deliberations. Glad to see the Indian community welcoming so warmly,” PM Narendra Modi tweeted today.
  2. In his opening address to the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasised on the need for mutual trust, strategic communication and cooperation between the nations. “Given the difference in national conditions, history and cultures, it is only natural we may have some differences in pursuing our cooperation,” President Xi said.
  3. He also touched upon another area of difference with India — the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) hosted by China in May. The BRI, he said, is not a tool to advance any geopolitical agenda, but a platform for practical cooperation.
  4. China is holding the BRICS summit for the second time. It has invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries for the summit. It has however, clarified that the invitation is not an attempt to expand the group under its “BRICS Plus” approach.
  5. Besides focusing on trade, the BRICS nations will also discuss security and other multilateral issues. On the sidelines of the summit, PM Modi is expected to have bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other BRICS leaders.
  6. India and China ended their standoff in Doklam last week by withdrawing troops from the area. The troops of the two countries had been locked in a stand-off after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the disputed area between China and Bhutan.
  7. Days later, China said India should learn “lessons” and prevent such incidents in future.
  8. The last bilateral meeting between PM Modi and President Xi took place at Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in June during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
  9. The meeting came amid growing differences between the two nations over a host of issues, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and China’s opposition to India’s efforts to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The two leaders had also met informally at G20 in Germany the next month.
  10. In May, India had boycotted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, where 29 world leaders participated. A key part of the One Belt, One Road or OBOR project runs through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. India raised strong objections, saying it violates India’s territorial integrity, since PoK is part of India.
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