Expressing dissatisfaction over proposed Japanese investments in India’s North-East states, as mentioned in the India-Japan joint statement following bilateral talks a day earlier between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe in Gandhinagar, Beijing Friday warned that a “third-party should not meddle” in border disputes between India and China. Without mentioning Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that negotiations were still on to settle the “eastern section” of the China-India border.
Referring to the India-Japan Act East Forum, MFA spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “China and India are working on seeking a fair and reasonable settlement which can be accepted by both sides through negotiations. Under such circumstances, we believe that any third party should respect the efforts made by China and India to settle the disputes through negotiations and any third party should not meddle in the disputes between China and India over territorial sovereignty in any form.”
Hua said the boundary between India and China was yet to be settled: “There are disputes over the eastern section of the China-India boundary. China’s position on the boundary issue is consistent… I want to add that both Japan and India are important countries in Asia. We hope that the development of normal relations between Japan and India can play a constructive role for the mutual trust and cooperation between regional countries and the peace, stability and development of the region.”
The India-Japan joint statement mentioned cooperation between the two countries to improve infrastructure and development in the North-East region. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said: “We agreed on a Japan-India Act East Forum which will essentially the explore the possibilities of involving Japan in the development of North East infrastructure.”
Asked about possible allusions to China in the joint statement, Hua said, “I have also read the Japan-India joint statement… I have not found the word ‘China’ in the statement. So, I am wondering whether this is the overinterpretation of the media or just like the media’s conjecture, both Japan and India have the hidden agenda. As far as I am concerned, it is better to ask Japan and India and see whether they can make some clarifications on this.”