Doklam standoff continues, China and India seen as warming up towards each other


India China(, Jul29, 2017) –In what is seen by the Indian media as a conciliatory move by Beijing, China’s official Xinhua news agency has spoken of the need to enhance mutual trust as the two countries are “not born rivals”. This was following the first meeting Jul 27 between India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval and State Councillor Yang Jiechi in Beijing. Yang is the Chinese counterpart of Doval and oversees China’s foreign affairs and border talks with India. India is seen as having responded in kind by stressing on ‘common development’ between the two countries.

The meeting and the Xinhua remark came ahead of Doval’s expected meet Jul 28 with Chinese president Xi Jinping, noted Jul 28.

The report noted that the comments released by Xinhua made a strong plea to avoid the possibility of a war. “Most economies, including those in the West, will find themselves negatively affected by an India-China war in a globalised and intertwined world today,” it was quoted as saying.

Doval was in Beijing to take part in a summit of the BRICS countries, which is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Yang also held separate meetings with security officials of the three other countries on the sidelines of the summit.

Xinhua said Yang discussed issues concerning bilateral relations, international and regional issues and multilateral affairs with the visiting security officials.

The report said there were signs that the two neighbours might be able to scale down tensions that had spiked due to the military muscle flexing over China’s bid to build a road through a plateau in Bhutanese territory.

The report noted that this was the first time in weeks that China’s official media ran a commentary without demanding withdrawal of Indian troops from the disputed Doklam region. It noted that Beijing had previously kept insisting that troop withdrawal from Doklam by Indian troops was a pre-condition to a “meaningful dialogue”.

Nevertheless, the Xinhua report did note, “The recent border issue between the two countries shows a lack of strategic trust on the Indian side.”

It further said, “India must understand that China wishes what’s good for the Indian people and would love to see a strong India standing shoulder by shoulder with China.”

It suggested that instead of being rivals, India and China had “much more common ground, common interests and common aspirations”.

And it hoped that “wisdom will guide the two countries to common prosperity. There is more than enough room for them to co-exist and thrive in Asia and in the world”.

On its part, India reiterated Jul 27 its promise of a “development partnership” with China based on the “Astana consensus”.

“The basis should be the Astana consensus, which had two components — first, that positive India-China relations are good for the region and the world and are a factor of stability; and second, that differences should not become disputes,” another report Jul 28 quoted India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay as saying.


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