India has told the visiting Chinese Foreign Wang Yi that ties with China could not be normal until their troops are pulled back from each other on the disputed border.
It was the highest-level visit between the two countries since clashes in Ladakh in 2020 led to the deaths of 20 Indian and at least four Chinese soldiers. Tens of thousands of soldiers, manning tanks and fighter jets, remain amassed at either side of the border. Several rounds of de-escalation talks between military commanders have not yielded breakthroughs in some key areas of the conflict.
In remarks to the media after the talks, Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar said the border had to be completely demilitarized for normal relations with Beijing to resume.
"Bilateral relations have been disturbed as a result of Chinese actions in April 2020," he said, referring to the start of the border tensions. "I was honest in conveying our sentiment on this issue during talks with Wang Yi," he said, adding that normal ties would be restored only after the borders were tranquil.
Wang also met India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and invited Doval to visit Beijing. India claims that China has been stalling the demilitarization talks while building military infrastructure in territory under its control.
In a statement, Wang said China and India should work together to promote peace and stability around the world. "The two sides should... put the differences on the boundary issue in an appropriate position in bilateral relations, and adhere to the correct development direction of bilateral relations," he said.
"China does not pursue the so-called 'unipolar Asia' and respects India's traditional role in the region. The whole world will pay attention when China and India work hand in hand."
Wang and Jaishankar also discussed their nations' approaches to tackling Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "Both of us agreed on the importance of an immediate ceasefire, as well as a return to diplomacy," Jaishankar said.
China and India should stick to their own development paths and join
hands to safeguard peace and stability both in the region and the world,
putting their differences over the border issues at a proper position in the
bilateral relations, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said
during a meeting with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday.
Putting their differences over the border issues "at a proper position" in the bilateral relations indicates that we should put the border issues at an important position, but they should not serve as the precondition or the basis for bilateral relations, the Global Times quoted Chinese experts as saying.
"Some Indian media outlets said India's ties with China cannot be normal until the border dispute is addressed. That mentality is improper," Lan Jianxue, head of the Department for Asia-Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Saturday.
If India can follow China's approach, viewing the border dispute in a
pragmatic and rational way, and focusing its efforts on promoting the common
interests of the two countries and seeking common ground, bilateral relations between
the two countries will go more smoothly. China-India relations are very
promising, but India should adjust some of its thoughts, Lan noted.
Wang's trip to India as well as his three-point approach can help improve China-India ties. Against a backdrop of the Ukraine crisis, failing global governance and emerging economies battered by COVID-19, if Beijing and New Delhi can refocus on cooperation, both countries will heavily benefit from it, according to experts.
"China has made great efforts in this regard and has taken the first step and it is believed that India will follow suit. The smooth exchanges between the two countries will help them reach a bigger consensus on regional hotspot issues in their following meetings such as BRICS and SCO summits," Lan said.
Aside from the tensions in the Himalayas, India's mistrust stems from Beijing's support of old foe Pakistan, the competition for influence in Nepal, and concern over China's economic clout in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, according to Al Jazeera.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).