Indian officials explain why buzz around Prez Xi’s India visit is misplaced

By Hindustan times

South Block is flummoxed by reports about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s possible visit to India for the Brics summit as neither the dates nor the format has been decided given that the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of abating, people aware of the matter said.

The buzz around President Xi’s possible visit to the summit of the five-nation group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was triggered by positive comments of the Chinese spokesperson about relations with India on Monday. The spokesperson also expressed Beijing’s support to host this year’s meeting though he hadn’t responded to a direct question about President Xi’s visit to Delhi.

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Indian officials said that it was too early to speculate.

“The dates of the BRICS summit have still not been decided. Once the date and the format, virtual or physical, has been decided by India, only then consultations will be held with Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil. As it is, President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping are not travelling outside their countries due to the global pandemic,” said a senior official at the ministry of external affairs.

Diplomats based in Moscow told Hindustan Times that the no Brics dates were mentioned by visiting foreign secretary Harsh Shringla to his Russian interlocutors either. “Not even the dates of the annual India-Russia summit have been finalised due to the pandemic,” said a senior diplomat.

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