The Dokalam standoff had put “severe pressure” on India-China ties though the issue was resolved through diplomatic means, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during their meeting in New Delhi. The bilateral ties went through a serious test after Indian border troops “illegally trespassed” into the Chinese territory in June, Wang told Swaraj yesterday. The Chinese foreign minister was in New Delhi to attend the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Although the standoff ended eventually through diplomatic means more than two months later, lessons must be learned and efforts must be made to avoid such an incident in the future, said Wang, whose comments were posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website today. “The standoff put the bilateral relations under severe pressure,” he said. Wang said that the Sino-Indian relations are at a crucial period and the most important thing between the two countries is to really cultivate mutual trust. Leaders from both countries have shared the view that China and India should regard each other’s development as opportunities rather than challenges, and China and India are partners rather than rivals, thus the two sides should sincerely implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, Wang noted.
While enhancing strategic communication at all levels, restoring dialogue mechanisms that have been established and deepening pragmatic cooperation in all fields, both sides should also properly manage differences so as to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas, he said. Wang’s visit to New Delhi is the first by a top Chinese official to India after the 73-day Dokalam standoff and after the commencement of the second five-year term of President Xi Jinping. The Dokalam standoff ended on August 28 after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India’s ‘Chicken Neck’ corridor. India had objected to the construction highlighting its security concerns. The road was being built by China in an area also claimed by Bhutan.
Besides Swaraj, Wang also called on President Ram Nath Kovind and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. In his meeting with Doval, Wang said China and India should make correct choice in development of relations without politicising and complicating issues left over by history. Sino-Indian relations are at a crucial moment when both sides need to make right choice on the future of the bilateral relations, Wang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.