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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had exchanged courtesies and spoke on the need to stabilise the bilateral relations at a dinner during the G20 summit in Bali last year, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

Two days ago, the Chinese foreign ministry following a meeting between NSA Ajit Doval and top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Johannesburg claimed that Xi and Modi had reached an "important consensus" on stabilising bilateral ties at the interaction on the margins of the G20 Summit last November.

"During the Bali G20 summit last year, the prime minister and President Xi Jinping at the conclusion of that dinner hosted by the Indonesian President exchanged courtesies and spoke of the need to stabilise our bilateral relations," Bagchi said.

"As you are aware, we have steadfastly maintained the key to resolution of the whole issue is to resolve the situation along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) on the Western sector of India-China boundary and to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas," he added.

His comments came when asked about China's claim of the consensus reached at the interaction between the two top leaders in Bali.

Following the brief interaction between Modi and Xi in Bali, the MEA had said they exchanged courtesies.

It was their first such exchanges in public view since the India-China border standoff began in May 2020.

Doval met Wang on the sidelines of the BRICS NSAs' meeting in Johannesburg on July 24.

In its statement on the meeting, the MEA said Doval conveyed that the situation along the LAC in the western sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 had "eroded strategic trust" and the public and political basis of the relationship.

It said the NSA emphasised the importance of continuing efforts to fully resolve the situation and restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas so as to remove impediments to normalcy in bilateral ties.

"The two sides agreed that the India-China bilateral relationship is significant not only for the two countries but also for the region and world," the MEA said on Tuesday.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year standoff in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

The government refers to eastern Ladakh as Western sector.

The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

Asked whether the Chinese president would attend the G20 summit in Delhi, Bagchi said India is making all efforts and preparations for its success with the participation of all invited leaders.

On India's proposal to make the African Union a permanent member of the G20, he said: "We hope this does happen."

At the same time, he added that it would be premature to say anything specific on the matter.

Asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin's reported comments supporting the proposal, Bagchi said he has not seen the remarks.

But said: "If Russia has supported (the proposal), it is good."


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