Indian Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale today held talks with Guo Yezhou, Vice Minister, International Department of the ruling Communist Party, amid efforts by the two nations to improve their ties post-Dokalam. Guo is the senior most vice minister of the international department of the CPC which plays key role in policy formulations of China’s external relations. The details of the meeting were immediately not available. Bambawale, a seasoned diplomat who till recently served as high commissioner to Pakistan, assumed charge as India’s ambassador to China last month. The meeting took place as a high-level Chinese delegation headed by Meng Xiangfeng, a close confidant of President Xi Jinping and the Deputy Director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, is currently visiting India under an exchange programme with the Ministry of External Affairs.
The exchanges between the CPC and the MEA followed the visits of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi to New Delhi last month. Wang’s talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other officials on the sidelines of Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers’ meeting last month set the stage for a broader dialogue on improving the relations this year. The two neighbours had a roller-coaster relationship in 2017 which was repeatedly blighted by issues like the Dokalam standoff, blocking of India’s NSG membership bid and moves to declare the Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Massood Azhar a terrorist. The 73-day standoff at Dokalam in Sikkim where Chinese military attempted to build a road close to Chicken Neck corridor has sparked a new round of tensions at the border. It finally ended after China agreed to stop road building.
As the two sides made efforts to improve ties, officials here said a new incident of Chinese military’s attempts to build a road inside the Indian territory in Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh has been resolved. The Chinese construction equipment seized by the Indian troops is expected to be handed over to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops at a local commanders meeting. The series of meeting at various levels currently underway were between the two countries were aimed at resetting the relations back on track averting a further downturn in the bilateral ties, they said.