‘Troop pullback from border will better India-China relations’
Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar (REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo).
INDIA has given a message to China that their bilateral relations will only get better when both pull back their troops from a confrontation point on their disputed Himalayan border, the country’s external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said.
Jaishankar, who is in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, spoke on the matter with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the event on Thursday (16).
“Discussed disengagement in our border areas. Underlined that progress in this regard is essential for restoration of peace and tranquillity, which is the basis for development of bilateral ties,” he said on Twitter.
Thousands of troops from India and China have locked horns in the confrontation in the western Himalayas since last year after a decades-old border dispute accelerated. In June 2020, tension erupted into hand-to-hand fighting between soldiers from the two nuclear-armed countries resulting in deaths on both sides.
India and China have witnessed heated border confrontations on a number of occasions in the recent past with their 73-day standoff near Doklam in Bhutan which many feared could lead to a full-fledged conflict since the 1962 war.
Several rounds of talks have taken place between the two neighbours at various levels over their latest confrontation and the forces have stepped back on some sections of the border, including the Pangong Tso Lake, a contested zone located near where the clashes last year took place.
Speaking on the issue, Wang said, “China has always handled the China-India border issue properly and with a positive attitude. (Both sides should) work together to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas, and stop border incidents from recurring.”
As two major emerging economies, China and India should bring bilateral talks back to a healthy track, Beijing’s foreign ministry cited Wang as saying in a statement.
Jaishankar said he also spoke with Wang about recent global events but stopped short of giving details.
Making an indirect mention of Pakistan, a country with which China has close relations, Jaishankar told Wang that it is essential for China not to see its relations with India through the lens of a third country, he said. On Twitter, the Indian minister said: “It is also essential that China does not view its relations with India through the lens of a third country.”
Relations with India have ‘intrinsic logic’: China
China also on Friday agreed with Jaishankar’s assertion that Beijing should not see New Delhi through the lens of a third country and said that Sino-India relations have their own “intrinsic logic”.
Asked for his reaction to Jaishankar’s remarks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that “we agree with the remarks from the Indian side”.
“China and India are both important Asian countries. For the two countries to develop relations there is an inherent necessary logic. China-India relations never target any third party,” Zhao said.
To a follow up question, he said, “the development of India-China relations follow its own intrinsic logic. China-India relations do not target any third party and are not based on any third party.”
In the statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang said the recent communication between the two sides through the foreign and military departments was earnest and effective, and the overall situation in the border area was “gradually de-escalated”.
The Chinese foreign minister hoped that “India will meet China halfway to move the situation towards stability and shift it from urgent dispute settlement to regular management and control.”