Bali: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands Tuesday at a side event at the G20 Summit here, a gesture sparking interest because of the strained bilateral relations over a border clash two years back.
A live video feed for the media from the welcome dinner hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo for G20 delegates showed the brief exchange between the two leaders.
There had been some speculation over a possible bilateral meeting between the two leaders 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.
Since the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed – there has been no one-on-one meetings between the two leaders.
India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are important for the overall development of bilateral ties. In September, Prime Minister Modi and President 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. G20 leaders watched dance performances as they dined.
Xi had a bilateral meeting 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 is here to attend the G20 Summit at the invitation of Indonesian President Widodo. India is currently part of the G20 Troika (current, previous, and incoming G20 Presidencies) comprising Indonesia, Italy, and India.