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China’s Xi calls for more cooperation from BRICS amid standoff with India

Xi said the BRICS nations were faced with a “complex international political and economic security situation” and communication on financial cooperation, cultural exchanges and security issues would help strengthen the ties.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2017 21:15 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Xi Jinping,India China standoff,BRICS
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting with the delegation from the seventh meeting of BRICS senior representatives on security issues at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 28, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

President Xi Jinping on Friday called for more cooperation among the BRICS countries on economics, finance and security at a meeting of security heads of the five-nation grouping,including India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval, in the backdrop of a military standoff on the Sino-India border.

Xi said the five countries were faced with a “complex international political and economic security situation” and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) should communicate more on financial cooperation, cultural exchanges and security issues.

Xi said the five countries have done a lot to promote cooperation on security issues.

Earlier in the day, Doval said BRICS countries should take the lead role in countering global terrorism and address alsoregional issues at the formal opening of the 7th meeting of the security heads of the group.

Doval’s visit to Beijing has been under the cloud of the military impasse in the Donglang and the focus has been on whether his meetings with the Chinese leadership would begin the process of resolving the logjam near the Sikkim border.

The crisis was sparked off in June after India sent troops to the Donglang area – also called Doklam – which China claims is its territory. Bhutan too claims the area. China has insisted on withdrawal of Indian troops for starting talks to defuse tensions.

While standoffs between the neighbours – which share a nearly 3,500 km border – are not uncommon, the Sikkim face-off is one of the longest in recent times.

In his opening remarks at the summit on Friday morning, Doval stressed on BRICS countries’ stand on counter-terrorism and the importance of discussing security-related issues among the five members.

“BRICS has grown in global significance over the years. It is natural we should hold a BRICS forum to discuss security issues that impact global peace and stability,” he told his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa at the seventh such summit.

Doval’s bilateral meeting with state councilor Yang Jiechi in Beijing on Thursday was closely tracked but whether their conversation began a resolution or at least an easing of the standoff remains to be seen.

A brief statement on Thursday’s meeting between Doval and Yang put out by the official news agency Xinhua indicated that the standoff was indeed discussed.

“Chinese state councilor Yang Jiechi Thursday met separately with senior security representatives from South Africa, Brazil and India,” the statement said.

“Yang also separately exchanged views with the three senior representatives on bilateral relations, international and regional issues and multilateral affairs, and set forth China’s position on bilateral issues and major problems,” it added.

Chinese experts have given enough indications that Doval-Yang talks will not yield any result if India doesn’t withdraw its troops.

“Once the Indian army pulls out, the tension will be quickly reduced. This time, China and its top leaders feel humiliated badly by India’s adventurism and invasion,” said Hu Shisheng, director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

“How can China withdraw? It (the standoff) is in Chinese territory according to the 1890 treaty (signed between China’s Qing dynasty and British India),” Hu said.

Jin Canrong, associate dean of the department of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, described India’s act as “blackmail”.

“India’s behaviour is like blackmail to some extent as it knows China will hold the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is a key political event,” Jin told the nationalistic Global Times.

The NSAs’ meeting will be followed by the 2017 BRICS Summitin Xiamen city from September 3 to 5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the meeting.

The BRICS countries are home to 42 per cent of the world’s population. Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12 per cent to 23 per cent in the past decade, while contributing more than half of global growth.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 16:30 IST