India’s new envoy to China Gautam Bambawale today submitted his credentials to President Xi Jinping, a formality which would enable him to officially function as the Ambassador. Xi received the credentials of Bambawale, and 10 other envoys, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The Chinese President welcomed the ambassadors to China and asked them to convey his sincere greetings and good wishes to the leaders and people of their countries. The Chinese government will provide convenience and support for the work of the ambassadors, Xi said, adding that he hopes they will actively contribute to bilateral relations between China and their countries. Xi said China will enhance mutual political trust, promote practical cooperation, deepen cooperation in international affairs, achieve common development with the countries and contribute to world peace, stability, the report said. Bambawale, a seasoned diplomat, arrived here last month. Till recently, he served as High Commissioner to Pakistan and earlier as India’s envoy to Bhutan. A 1984-batch India Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Bambawale succeeded Vijay Gokhale who took over as Secretary (Economic Relations) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). A deft hand in Sino-India relations, Bambawale earlier handled the China desk at the MEA which also included relations with Japan, China, South Korea, Mongolia and North Korea. A Mandarin-speaker, he had also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Indian Embassy in Beijing earlier. He came ahead of India and China resuming a high-level dialogue this month after Xi assumed his second five-year term after an endorsement by the National Congress of the ruling Communist Party in October this year.
Bambawale’s posting here came at a time when the two neighbours are trying to put behind the Dokalam standoff, and work on a “forward-looking” approach in their ties. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is to take part in the Russia, India and China (RIC) dialogue mechanism, expected to be held in Delhi on December 11. During the visit, he is also expected to hold talks with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj and meet top Indian leadership, officials said here. Following the RIC dialogue, the 20th round of India-China border talks will be held in Delhi between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. Both Doval and Yang have been designated as ‘Special Representatives’ who are also mandated to discuss all issues related to India-China relations. For the first time after the Doklam standoff, the two countries held their border consultation and coordination mechanism meeting here last month during which they reviewed the situation in all sectors of their border and exchanged views on confidence building measures and military contacts.
The 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held in Beijing on November 17. The India-China border dispute covers the 3488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet while India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during 1962 war.