In the first official meeting between top Indian and Chinese officials since the Doklam stand-off became public, national security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval met state councillor Yang Jiechi here on Thursday, offering the possibility of serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the confrontation.
Yang, who as China’s state councillor overseeing foreign affairs occupies a powerful and influential position in the state council, is a nominee in the India-China special representative level dialogue with NSA Doval.
Indications of how the bilateral meeting went on Thursday could be gleaned by the commentary released by China’s official Xinhua news agency which sent out a conciliatory signal just before Doval is expected to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday. The news agency spoke of the need to enhance mutual trust between the two countries because they are “not born rivals“. The comments released by the official Xinhua news agency 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 said. In Delhi, the Indian government reminded China of the agreements on peace and tranquility that go back to 1993.
Yang also held separate meetings with security officials of three other countries on the sidelines of a security dialogue of BRICS nations.
He discussed issues con cerning bilateral relations, international and regional issues and multilateral affairs with the visiting security officials, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The remarks are a contrast to the hectoring tone in the comments published in publications like Global Times that are seen to reflect the views of the government. China’s official spokespersons have accused India of trespassing into Chinese territory , ignoring India’s protests that the face-off near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan trijunction has been caused by unilateral attempts by China to alter the ground position.
There are signs that the two neighbours might be able to scale down tensions that have spiked following China’s bid to build a road through a plateau in Bhutanese territory .
This is the first time in weeks that the official media ran a commentary without de manding withdrawal of Indian troops from the disputed Doklam region. China has so far been insisting that troop withdrawal is a pre-condition to a “meaningful dialogue“.
“The recent border issue between the two countries shows a lack of strategic trust on the Indian side,“ Xinhua said. It is not China but a set of problems common to all developing countries like corruption, a lack of quality education and healthcare that is holding back India.
“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,“ Xinhua, which reflects the government’s thinking said, giving an emotional touch to the vexed relationship. “Instead of being rivals, India and China have much more common ground, common interests and common aspirations. Both as developing countries, the two need to work together on important issues like fighting climate change, protectionism and the financial privileges of Washington,“ Xinhua said.
Doval is in Beijing to attend a dialogue of BRICS nations.
“Hopefully , wisdom will guide the two countries to common prosperity ,“ it said, adding that “Both China and India need to enhance communication and nurture trust between them… the two are not born rivals and that harboring ill will against each other is dangerous,“ it added.
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