‘Momentum of recovery’ in ties, China tells India, leaves out talk on troop disengagement

Published on Jul 08, 2022 09:00 AM IST

Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi met Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar in Indonesia on Thursday

External affairs minister S Jaishankar with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. (PTI)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. (PTI)

Bilateral relations have shown a “momentum of recovery” as India and China have effectively “managed and controlled” differences since March this year, Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi told external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday.

Wang said the two countries should “push for the early return of the bilateral relations to the right track and light up the bright future of the relations together”. While, according to a Chinese readout of the meeting, Wang spoke about a “momentum of recovery” in the ties, the statement made no mention of disengagement of troops from the disputed areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh to resolve the ongoing border tension –– a primary requirement, according to New Delhi, for the return of normalcy or recovery in ties

Wang and Jaishankar held an hour-long meeting on the margins of a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting being hosted in Bali by Indonesia, the current president of the grouping of the world’s 20 largest economies.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of the dragging military standoff, which has plunged bilateral ties to an all-time low since the ongoing round of tensions began in May 2020.

The two sides have been unable to withdraw frontline troops from all friction points despite numerous rounds of diplomatic and military talks.

As it turned out, there was no direct mention of the ongoing border trouble in the readout, released by the official news agency Xinhua late on Thursday night.

“Since March this year, China and India have maintained communication and exchanges, effectively managed differences, and the bilateral relations have generally shown a momentum of recovery,” the readout quoted Wang as telling Jaishankar.

Wang said the two countries should take practical actions to implement the important consensus of the leaders of the two countries that “the two countries are not each other’s threats, but cooperation partners and development opportunities.” Both countries share common interests and similar legitimate claims, Wang said.

“As the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, major countries like China and India will definitely not go with the flow, but are destined to uphold strategic determination, achieve their respective development and revitalisation in accordance with the established goals, and make greater contributions to the future of mankind,” Wang said.

“Just as an Indian poet once said that ‘darkness will not disappear by itself, and the extinguished lamp must be rekindled’, therefore, let’s jointly light up the bright future of our bilateral relations.”

Referring to various aspects of global diplomacy including multilateralism, safeguarding peace and security, boosting economic recovery, improving global governance, to jointly combating Covid-19, Wang said the two countries should strengthen coordination and cooperation, and join efforts to make international relations “more democratic, international order fairer, the developing countries’ voices to be heard more and their legitimate interests better maintained”.

The readout quoted Jaishankar as saying since their meeting in March – when Wang visited New Delhi -- the two sides have made positive progress in terms of safeguarding stability along the borders, promoting practical cooperation and facilitating people-to-people exchanges.

Jaishankar said New Delhi looks forward to a “positive, cooperative and constructive India-China relationship” and stands ready to work with China to release a clear signal to push for the improvement of bilateral ties.

The Chinese statement did not mention -- as per the Indian readout on the meeting -- Jaishankar reiterating to Wang the need for complete disengagement of troops from friction points along the LAC.

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    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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