In the first major bilateral meeting since the 73-day military standoff between the two countries in Bhutan’s Dokalam plateau earlier this year, India and China on Friday agreed that pending the final resolution of the boundary question, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas.
India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval and Yang Jiechi, state councillor and member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, discussed a wide range of issues during the 20th meeting of India and China’s special representatives on the boundary question in the national capital. The dialogue was established in 2003.
Yang also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The talks were positive and focused on bringing out the full potential of the closer developmental partnership between the two countries,” said an official statement after the meeting.
The Prime Minister said that a strong India-China relationship is important not only for the mutual benefit of the people of India and China, but also for the region and the world, the statement added.
It emphasized that the special representatives undertook a comprehensive review of earlier rounds of talks and agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries.
They re-emphasized their commitment to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the India-China boundary question at an early date.
“The two sides agreed that pending the final resolution of the boundary question, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas. In this regard, the special representatives exchanged ideas on various confidence-building measures,” the statement added.
Earlier this year in June, tensions between India and China ran high when Bhutan objected to an attempt by Chinese troops to build a road on the Dokalam plateau. Indian troops stationed in Bhutan under a special security arrangement intervened to keep Chinese troops at bay. India said the action to construct the road changed the status quo and expressed concern that the road will allow China to cut off access to northeastern states. The military stand-off continued for over 70 days before the two sides decided to mutually disengage.
Meanwhile, the two leaders also reviewed the development of India-China bilateral relations and agreed to maintain regular contact and to advance the development of bilateral relations in all areas.
“They underlined the need for the two countries to build on their convergences, while seeking mutually acceptable resolutions of their differences with due respect for each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations,” the statement said.
The two sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
“They acknowledged that as two large developing countries engaged in their national modernization, relations between India and China transcend their bilateral dimensions and have significance for peace, stability and development of Asia and the world,” the statement said.
One other major area of concern to India is China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative. So far, India has stayed away from the project.
India even declined to attend an international conference on OBOR earlier this year, given its reservations as a strand of the project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), cuts through the Gilgit and Baltistan areas of Kashmir which India claims are illegally held by Pakistan.