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Chinese foreign minister says India should learn lessons from Doklam standoff

The Doklam standoff was the longest between India and China in recent years and fanned tensions between the neighbouring giants.

world Updated: Aug 30, 2017 18:43 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Doklam,China-India faceoff,Sikkim
In this file photo, an Indian national flag is seen next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony for visiting Indian officials outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP)

India should learn its lesson from the Doklam standoff and prevent similar incidents in the future, China said on Wednesday, barely two days after border troops from the two countries disengaged after a 70-day military impasse along the international boundary near Sikkim.

“We hope the Indian side will learn lessons from this incident and prevent similar things from happening again,” foreign minister Wang Yi told a press briefing on Wednesday.

Wang made the statement at a briefing on the upcoming BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa -- summit next week which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will chair the BRICS summit in China’s southeastern coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian Province from September 3 to 5.

Wang, responding to a question on the resolution of the impasse and whether it was a face-saver for China, said the fact is that Indian troops withdrew from the Doklam area, which is under China’s control but claimed by Bhutan.

“On the border face-off caused by India’s trespassing, that has been settled,” he said.

“Media may have their own speculation. What is most important is the authoritative information released by the government. The information provided by (China’s) ministry of foreign affairs reflects the facts,” he said.

Though border skirmishes between India and China are not unusual, the Doklam face-off was the longest in recent times, at times raising possibilities of blowing up into low-intensity war.

China’s response during the standoff was vitriolic and scathing, in contrast to the relatively measured reactions by India.

In line with Beijing’s stated posturing, Wang sought to claim victory.

“The trespassing personnel and equipment from India were all withdrawn to the Indian side of the border around 2.30 pm the day before yesterday. That brought the face-off to an end and that is the basic fact,” he said.

Wang added that now that the impasse had been resolved, both sides should work towards maintaining steady bilateral ties.

“We hope through the efforts of both sides will maintain healthy and stability momentum of growth for China India relations. This is not only in the interest of Indian and Chinese people but for the aspirations of the international community and neighbouring countries,” he said.

Wang said it was natural for India and China to have differences but those differences needed to be set aside.

“Both India and China are big countries. It is only natural there are some problems in our interactions. What is important is that we put these differences in an appropriate place and under the principle of mutual respect and following the consensus of our leaders, we need to handle and manage them properly,” he said.

Wang added: “In the meantime, through our engagement in different mechanisms, we need to work out a solution in the long run.”

The foreign minister spoke about the potential for development and cooperation between India and China.

“There is huge potential and space for cooperation between India and China. Such cooperation serves the interest of our two countries and peoples,” he said.

“We hope China and India will join hands and work together for the rejuvenation of Asia and for the development of our region and contribute our share to greater development,” Wang added.

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First Published: Aug 30, 2017 10:04 IST