China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in South Africa’s Johannesburg after the latter requested him.

The BRICS is a grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

During their meeting on Thursday, Xi stressed that improving Indo-China relations serves their common interests and is also “conducive to peace, stability and development” of the world and the region, Beijing said.

India, however, did not say if the two world leaders had met on Modi’s request.

In its statement, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said that Modi and Xi have agreed to direct officials to intensify efforts at “expeditious disengagement and de-escalation” in the border areas, .

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, in a press conference on Thursday, said that Modi, in his conversation with Xi, highlighted India’s concerns about the “unresolved issues along the LAC [Line of Actual Control]” in the western sector of the India-China border areas”.

The Indian government refers to eastern Ladakh as the western sector of the Line of Actual Control.

“The prime minister underlined that the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and observing and respecting the LAC are essential for the normalisation of the India-China relationship,” Kwatra said. “In this regard, the two leaders agreed to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation.”

On August 13 and August 14, India and China had held a fresh round of high-level military talks to resolve the over three-year-old border standoff between the two countries.

A joint statement issued after the talks stated: “[The two countries] agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations through military and diplomatic channels. In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the peace and tranquility on the ground in the border areas.”

The joint press release issued by the two countries, however, did not indicate any breakthrough in the talks.

A major face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in June 2020 led to casualties on both sides – the first in many decades. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.