China on Wednesday presented an upbeat picture of Sino-India ties ahead of this week’s border talks, saying the relations maintained “sound momentum” as the two countries “properly managed” differences through dialogue and consultations.
The 21st round of India-China border talks between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be held at the picturesque Dujiangyan near southwest China’s Chengdu city from November 23 to 24.
Announcing the talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, China-India relations have maintained sound momentum of growth”. “With ever-deepening cooperation in all areas, the two sides have maintained close communication and coordination in all border-related affairs.
“We have properly managed the differences through dialogue and consultation. The border areas on the whole maintained stability,” he said, answering a question on how China viewed the progress made during the 20th rounds of talks.
Both Doval and Wang are designated Special Representatives for the border talks. This will be the first round of talks for Wang who earlier this year succeeded State Councillor Yang Jiechi in a reshuffle.
Special Representatives’ talks are regarded as highly significant by both the countries as they cover all aspects of bilateral relations besides making efforts to resolve the border dispute. The India-China border dispute covered the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of its southern Tibet.
Officials maintain that this round of talks may focus more on reviewing the progress of dialogue being held on trade and maintenance of peace at borders than movement towards solution to the dispute as India is headed for general elections early next year.
Elaborating further on China’s view on the border talks, Geng said the two sides attached great importance to it.
“The two special representatives will have in-depth exchange of view on border related issues. They will follow the guidance of the consensus reached by the two leaders bearing in mind the general picture of the bilateral ties and benefits of the two peoples on the basis of the outcomes that have been achieved to actively promote the negations. “At the same time, we properly manage differences, peace and tranquillity at the border areas. The two sides will also exchange views on major issue of bilateral ties and the regional and international issue of mutual interest,” he said.
Officials on both sides maintain that though a solution to the border dispute still eludes the two countries, a lot of headway has been made in the 20 rounds of talks in terms of working out mechanisms to restore peace and tranquillity along the border to resolve tensions out of the aggressive patrolling by troops.
The last round which was held in New Delhi between Doval and Yang took place in the immediate backdrop of 73-day standoff between the two militaries at Doklam over Chinese military’s plan to build a road close to India’s strategic Chicken Neck corridor connecting the northeastern states.
It ended after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) halted the plans to build the road. The Doval-Yang meeting in New Delhi in December last year also prepared the ground for the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in April, which resulted in not only normalisation of relations but gave a new fillip to the improvement of relations in all spheres of the relations notwithstanding the border dispute.
Since then, both the countries have held several rounds of talks to enhance India’s exports rice, sugar as well as pharmaceuticals to China to reduce the USD 51 billion trade deficit as well as improving military-to-military relations.
Ahead of the border talks, top defence officials of India and China held the 9th India-China Annual Defence and Security Dialogue here on November 13 after a one year gap due to the Doklam standoff.
At the talks, both the sides agreed on enhancing defence exchanges and interactions at different levels between the two militaries.