The two leaders had an informal conversation on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit
Respecting the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is essential for normalising India-China bilateral ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

The matter was discussed when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday (August 24, 2023).

Briefing the media, India's Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said Prime Minister Modi highlighted India's concerns on the unresolved issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.

Prime Minister Modi told President Xi during the conversation that maintaining peace and tranquillity in border areas and respecting the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were essential for normalising bilateral relations, Foreign Secretary Kwatra said.

He added that the two leaders agreed to “direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation”.

The conversation that Prime Minister Modi had captures the sense of the relationship between India and China, Foreign Secretary Kwatra said. "Our leadership, including our Foreign Minister, has made India's position on relations with China clear," he said in response to a question during the briefing.

It has, however, been learnt that contrary to China's position that India had sought a meeting between the leaders of the two countries, this was an informal conversation. 

According to people in the know of the developments, there was a pending request from the Chinese side for a bilateral meeting. The two leaders, however, had an 'informal conversation" in the Leaders Lounge during the BRICS Summit, one of them said.

In June 2020, a tense standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Eastern Ladakh had led to a violent face-off in Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian soldiers had lost their lives. A very large number of Chinese troops were also killed though China has never officially confirmed the actual number of deaths. Multiple rounds of talks since then have led to a disengagement at several places, including in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, and Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15). Talks are continuing on ensuring disengagement at the remaining friction points.

The 19th round of India- China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side on August 13-14, 2023, with both sides describing the discussions as positive and constructive. There was, however, no announcement of any fresh disengagement along the remaining friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector along the Eastern Ladakh region.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar recently said that normalcy in bilateral ties was not possible till there was peace and tranquillity on the borders (Line of Actual Control or LAC). Responding to a question at a special media briefing on nine years of the Narendra Modi government on June 8, 2023, he maintained that China tried to coerce India in 2020 during the Galwan Valley stand-off by violating existing agreements.

"We want peace with China, but if peace agreements are violated then what can be done,” he remarked. EAM Jaishankar also stated that the India-China “relationship is impacted, and the relationship will continue to be impacted”.