‘Like Yangtze and Ganga’, China sees ties with India forging ahead
China on Friday called on India and Pakistan to move on from the crisis triggered by the Pulwama terror attack last month and to work towards a “long-term improvement” in bilateral ties through dialogue.
The suggestion, made by foreign minister Wang Yi at his annual news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing session of China’s rubber-stamp Parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), came against the backdrop of persisting tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad.
“We advise both parties to quickly turn the page and seek a fundamental long-term improvement in their relations,” Wang said, adding China was hopeful that the two countries would “transform the crisis into an opportunity and meet each other halfway”.
He added, “When confrontation gives way to dialogue and disagreements are settled by goodwill, they can create a better future through cooperation.”
Islamabad is under growing pressure from the world community to act against terror groups operating from its soil, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama that killed 40 troops.
The attack – one of the worst in Kashmir – led to the most serious escalation between the two sides in years, with India conducting an air strike on a JeM camp in within Pakistan, and an aerial engagement over the skies of Kashmir when Pakistan retaliated.
China sent its vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou to Pakistan during March 5-6 to discuss the tensions. Kong, who met Pakistan’s prime minister and army chief, assured Islamabad of Beijing’s support for peace and stability.
Wang, who is also a state councillor, made the remarks while responding to a question from a journalist from Pakistan on the India-Pakistan tensions and China’s role in calming the situation.
“Glad to take a question from our iron brother,” Wang said, referring to the phrase the Chinese and Pakistani leadership use to describe their close ties. He said China has stressed on the need for India and Pakistan to “exercise calm and restraint, prevent an escalation, find out what has happened and resolve the matter through dialogue”.
He added, “In the meantime, a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be fully respected. China has followed these principles in its mediation efforts and played a constructive role in defusing the tension.”
Wang referred to the current state of bilateral ties with India and said the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan last year set the direction for future relations to “surge ahead like the Yangtze and Ganges” rivers.
The Wuhan summit in had also created a “new model” of high-level interactions and “deepened trust between our leaders”. Over the past year, government departments “have done a lot and made considerable progress in following through many understandings reached by our leaders”, he said.
China, he said, is ready to work with India to “comprehensively strengthen sectoral cooperation and people-to-people ties which are of vital importance”. The two countries, with a combined population of 2.7 billion and emerging markets, “should be each other’s partner in pursuing our respective dreams and each other’s important opportunity for growing our respective economies”, Wang said.