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After China’s Doklam put-down, India papers over differences

NEW DELHI: After the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi issued a strongly worded statement on his conversation with Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, the Indian side on Wednesday tried to paper over what seemed like differences between the two sides.

Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Sushma Swaraj had raised the Doklam crisis with Wang Yi. “External affairs minister and Chinese foreign minister both noted the challenge it had posed to the relationship and both expressed satisfaction that it was resolved with the disengagement of troops at the face-off site through concerted diplomatic communications.”

On Tuesday, a statement attributed to Wang Yi after his meeting with Sushma took an unusually tough line, belying the Indian readout which seemed a lot more “positive”. Reporting on Wang Yi’s remarks, the MEA spokesperson said, “Wang Yi conveyed that the peaceful resolution of the Doklam issue reflects the political maturity on both sides. While agreeing with this, EAM reiterated that the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is an essential pre-requisite for the smooth development of bilateral relations.” The Chinese statement said Wang Yi had told Sushma, “The standoff put the bilateral relations under severe pressure.”

Wang Yi’s statement of his meeting with Swaraj is no longer there on the website of the Chinese foreign ministry. Instead, there is another strongly worded readout of his meeting with NSA Ajit Doval where he says darkly, “China-India relations are at a crucial moment at present, and both sides need to make correct choice regarding the future development direction of bilateral relations.”

In this statement, Wang Yi did not even refer to his meeting with his principal interlocutor, Sushma Swaraj, confining his remarks to a rebuttal of Doval.

In fact, on Sunday, Wang Yi, reporting on China-India diplomacy in 2017 took a fairly tough view of Doklam. “We handled the Indian border troops’ trespass into China’s Dong Lang area in our national interest, on just grounds and with restraint. Through diplomatic means, we engaged with the Indian side and it withdrew its equipment and personnel. This demonstrates not only the value and emphasis we put on relations with India but also our sincerity and sense of responsibility in maintaining regional peace and stability. We believe that as long as we continue to engage in in-depth strategic communication and promptly dispel strategic misgivings, the strategic value of China-India cooperation will speak for itself…”

That is clearly how China read the Doklam crisis, very different from the Indian spin on it. Raveesh Kumar added, “EAM also underlined the need for approaching our difference with due consideration to each other’s sensitivities and concerns. She recalled the consensus between the leaders of India and China reached in Astana earlier this year on the need to work together to ensure that our differences do not become disputes.” Both sides, though, agreed to step up “strategic communication” through more dialogues.

Source : timesofindia

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After China’s Doklam put-down, India papers over differences


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