Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday

Speaking on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, the Chinese president said that his country was willing to work with India to carry forward the impetus provided to bilateral ties through the Wuhan summit.

China and India – being “vindicators” of the contemporary international order – should work towards upholding multilateralism and economic globalisation, official news agency Xinhua has quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as telling Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the ongoing 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

Asserting that the objective of the two countries should be to bring about a more just and rational international order, Xi said China was willing to work with India to carry forward the impetus provided to bilateral ties through his informal summit with Modi in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in April.

“The Wuhan meeting is of milestone significance in the history of India-China relations. It has greatly increased mutual trust, and will bring new impetus and opportunities to the long-term development of bilateral relations,” he said.

The Chinese president said that the informal summit provided a “top-level design for bilateral ties in a macroscopic perspective and timely fashion that could help mobilise positive elements of all sectors in the two countries and unite the will of 2.6 billion people across the two countries, so as to form a force that would push bilateral ties into the future”.

The meeting at Johannesburg was the third to occur between the two leaders in four months. After Wuhan, Modi and Xi had met in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.

Details of the Modi-Xi meeting were published on the news agency’s website.

According to Xinhua, the Chinese leader also called on the two sides to implement the consensus reached by the two leaders at the Wuhan meeting. “China is willing to consolidate and develop a closer development partnership with India,” he said.

During their several one-on-one meetings in Wuhan, the two leaders had agreed to ensure peace and tranquility along the disputed boundary in the aftermath of the 73-day military standoff in Doklam (Donglang in Chinese) last year. “He (Xi) called on the two sides to strengthen strategic communication; increase mutual trust; promote practical cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges; strengthen dialogue; and properly manage differences,” Xinhua quoted him as saying. Xi also echoed Modi in talking about “upholding multilateralism, championing globalisation and striving for a more just and rational international order”.

In his address to the BRICS summit (comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Modi had reaffirmed India’s commitment to multilateralism, international trade and a rules-based world order. “At the session with fellow BRICS leaders, I shared my thoughts on various global issues, the importance of technology, skill development and how effective multilateral cooperation creates a better world,” Modi tweeted.

In his summit address, Xi urged fellow leaders of the BRICS emerging economies to “reject protectionism outright”.

The 10th BRICS summit is being held at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre from July 25 to 27.