Kathmandu/Benaulim: Pitching Nepal as a 'dynamic bridge' between India and China, Prime Minister Prachanda floated a proposal for trilateral strategic ties to Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Nepalese media reported on Sunday.
Fuelling speculation, the report about the 'trilateral meeeting' was reported by Nepal's The Himalayan Times along with a photo of the leaders.
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a quick chat with Prachanda and Jinping, with media sources saying that the meeting was not a formal trilateral meeting.
It was reported that PM Modi met Jinping and Prachanda in the Leaders Lounge at the venue of the BRICS 2016 summit, Taj Exotica, Goa.
The meeting is said to have lasted for 20 minutes with The Himalayan Times story, citing a statement issued by Prachanda's secretariat on the Prime Minister's personal website, saying that he "floated a proposal for trilateral strategic partnership among the three countries".
PM Modi and Xi acknowledged as 'significant' and said they were positive towards it, the report said.
According to the statement, Prachanda said during the meeting that "we (Nepal) are located between two giant countries. We want to become a dynamic bridge between the two countries and reap the benefit".
Noting that Buddha, Pashupatinath and Janaki connected Nepal, India and China, Prachanda was quoted as saying that Nepal can play a role of a bridge between India and China and help them build good relationship at present also.
He further said Nepal was inching towards the goals of development and wanted to establish a balanced, friendly and strategic relationship with both the neighbours, the report said.
The Nepalese premier also expressed his hope that the trilateral meeting could play a significant role in setting up an "epochal relationship" between Nepal, India and China, it said.
India, meanwhile, said both Xi and Prachanda were waiting in the leaders' lounge when PM Modi also reached there as he had to go with all the BRICS leaders for an informal dinner, turning the bilateral into a 'chance trilateral'.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup in Goa termed the episode "entirely coincidental".
"It was just entirely coincidental that in the leaders' lounge, all three were present at the same time. The bilateral meeting between China and Nepal had already ended. So, I don't know on what basis people are calling it a trilateral meeting. It is perfectly normal in a multilateral setting for leaders to be together in a lounge or on the sidelines or somewhere else," Swarup said, as per PTI.
BRICS nations condemn terror attacks on India
Meanwhile, BRICS nations today unanimously condemned terrorism in all its forms, including the terror attacks on India, as PM Modi called for a comprehensive response to this global scourge.
"We strongly condemn the recent several attacks, against some BRICS countries, including that in India," the Goa Declaration adopted at the conclusion of the Eighth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit stated.
"We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stress that there can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic or any other reasons," it said, as per IANS.
"We agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating international terrorism both at the bilateral level and at international fora."
The statement comes after last month's cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers..
India has blamed the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) for the wanton attack.
(With Agency inputs)