Three days before the start of India-China border talks, Beijing on Tuesday raised the Doklam issue once again. But, Why? China said the Dokalam standoff posed a “major test” for the bilateral ties and lessons should be learned from it to avoid a similar “conflict” between the two countries in the future. India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechic will participate in 20th round of India-China border talks in New Delhi on December 22.
The border talks are important because both countries are meeting for the first time since the end of the 73-day Dokalam standoff in the Sikkim on August 28. “This Special Representative meeting is not only a high- level channel for the border issue discussion but also the platform for strategic communication,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters. She added, “This (border talks) also allows the two sides to exchange views on the international and regional issues of major concern.”
“In 2017, China-India relations have maintained a good momentum generally but the Dokalam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said.
“We should follow our historical conventions on the border to uphold the tranquillity and peace in the border region as well as safeguard the larger picture of the India-China relations,” she added while asserting this is the best interest of India and China.
When asked about the impact of Dokalam standoff on the talks, Hua said the issue also figured in the recent visit of Foreign Minister Wang Yi to New Delhi to take part in the foreign ministers’ meeting of Russia, India, and China (RIC). On the sidelines of the event, Wang had met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and President Ram Nath Kovind.
Hua said that Wang also touched the Dokalam issue while in his meeting with Indian counterpart.
The 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) covers from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. Of this, 220-km section falls in Sikkim. The two sides so far held 19 rounds of Special Representatives talks to resolve the dispute.
According to officials, Wang’s visit, the first by a top Chinese official after the Dokalam standoff and the starting of the second term of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October facilitated a more candid and frank talks between the two countries to tide over most contentious between the two countries beyond the diplomatic niceties.