Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said that the Doka La border dispute had “damaged and affected” India-China ties but not derailed it. He added that both nations should ensure “differences do not go out of control”.
Wang’s statement is the first from a senior Chinese official on the border row following Tuesday’s meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.
“Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi have held successful bilateral talks in Xiamen and both sides should conscientiously implement the consensus of the leaders and ensure healthy and stable development,” Wang was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. Speaking at a press conference, Wang said that relations were not “derailed” and the Sino-Indian development “represented the future of the world”.
The Chinese minister called harmonious relations and win-win cooperation as “the natural choice” for both countries. He said, “Both sides need to remain committed to the five principles of peaceful coexistence and work together to properly handle disputes and also work together to maintain tranquillity in border areas.”
Stressing on the need to build strategic mutual trust, Wang said that there should be no confrontation. “The two sides need to work to really look at each other as cooperative partners rather than be driven by an old-fashioned mindset and regard each other as rivals or threats,” he added, according to India Today.
After engaging engaging in a standoff at Doka La in the Sikkim section for three months, the two sides decided to ‘disengage‘ their troops at Doka La just a week before Modi and Xi held talks.
The leaders, who met in Xiamen, put behind the standoff when Chinese premiere conveyed to Modi that he wanted to put the relations on the “right track”.
However, on Thursday, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat warned that the neighbouring country was encroaching upon the Indian territory and that the possibility of a two-front war could not be ruled out.
Rawat had said that China has “started salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits of threshold”
According to The Hindu, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called Rawat’s remarks as “shocking”. “We have taken note of the position of the Indian military official concerned… I do not know whether his statements have been authorised, were his personal impromptu comments or were on behalf of the Indian government,” MFA’s Geng Shuang was quoted as saying.
With inputs from agencies