India’s engagement with China is multi-faceted and issues having differences of perception by both sides are being handled with maturity, the government told Rajya Sabha today. In a written reply, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said the two sides have agreed to continue their engagement at various levels to enhance mutual understanding and address outstanding issues. Referring to talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Astana last month, he said both sides had agreed that Sino-India ties are a factor of stability at a time of global uncertainty. Singh’s comments came, a day after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval arrived in Beijing to attend a BRICS meeting of top security officials. Doval is expected to hold talks with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi on the ongoing Sikkim standoff. Talking about Astana consensus, Singh said India and China must not allow differences to become disputes.
Chinese and Indian troops have been locked in a face-off in the trijunction area for more than a month since Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the area. China claimed that it was constructing the road within its territory. India protested the construction, fearing it would allow China to cut India’s access to its northeastern states.
“In view of the significance of the bilateral relationship, the two sides have agreed ti continue their engagement at various levels to enhance mutual understanding and trust and to address outstanding issues in the spirit of showing mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s interests, concerns and aspirations,” he said. The minister said government is committed to develop friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all its neighbours under the ‘neighbourhood first’ policy.
Singh was asked whether India’s relations with China have gone bad during the last years and if so, whether government was reviewing its strategy towards ties with the neighbouring countries. “India’s engagement with China is multifaceted. In areas where we have commonality of views, engagement has expanded and upgraded in recent years. There are other areas where more progress can be made and cooperation expanded,” he said.
To a separate question, he said the Kailash Manasarovar yatra via the Nathu La route has been deferred this year after the Chinese government cited unfavourable conditions to ensure the safe and smooth conduct of the yatra on the route. “The government of India is engaged with the Chinese government on this matter,” said Singh.