India, China put behind Dokalam, agree to move on


XIAMEN, Putting behind the Dokalam standoff, India and China today agreed to move forward in their ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping telling Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he wants to put the relationship on the “right track”.
Days after the prolonged standoff in the Dokalam area of the Sikkim sector was defused, the two leaders held an hour- long meeting which Modi described as “fruitful”.
During their meeting here, the two leaders agreed that the two countries should make more efforts, including strengthening cooperation between their security personnel, to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
“Met President Xi Jinping. We held fruitful talks on bilateral relations between India and China,” Modi tweeted after meeting Xi.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the approach was “forward-looking” during the “constructive” meeting in which it was reaffirmed that maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas was a pre-requisite for the development of India-China relations.
Asked if both the countries have left behind the Dokalam episode, he said, “It was a forward-looking conversation… And not a backward-looking one.”
Prime Minister Modi and president Xi talked about inter- Governmental mechanisms such as joint economic group, security group and strategic group which can help both countries move forward, Jaishankar said.
The two leaders also emphasised on the need to make efforts to enhance and strengthen the mutual trust between the two sides, he said, adding that it was felt that “the security and defence personnel must maintain strong contacts and cooperation and ensure that the situation which happened recently does not recur.”
Jaishankar said it was natural between two neighbours or large powers to have differences but they should be handled with mutual respect and efforts should be made to find common ground in addressing them.
He said that there was a reaffirmation of the Astana spirit that the two sides will not allow differences to become disputes.
There was a very strong affirmation at the leadership level that it is in the interest of both the countries to keep this relationship on an upward trajectory, the Foreign Secretary said.
In his initial remarks during the meeting, Modi congratulated Xi on hosting a “very successful” BRICS Summit, saying that the conference was a success in making the grouping more relevant in a fast-changing world.
Xi told Modi that, “China would like to work with India to uphold the five principles of peaceful coexistence (Panchsheel), advance political mutual trust, mutually beneficial cooperation and move forward the development of bilateral relations along the right track,” according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
Geng, while briefing reporters in Beijing, said that during the meeting, “President Xi stressed that China and India are each others’ opportunities not threats.”
“We hope India can view China’s development in a correct and rational way,” Geng quoted Xi as saying.
Asked whether the recent standoff at Dokalam figured in the talks, Geng said, “Xi pointed out that China and India should respect each other, seek common ground and shelve differences to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”
The Modi-Xi meeting comes amid diplomatic efforts by the two sides to overcome the bitterness caused by the 73-day face-off between their troops in the Dokalam area.
The Chinese and the Indian troops were engaged in a standoff since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army.
On August 28, India’s External Affairs Ministry announced that New Delhi and Beijing have decided on “expeditious disengagement” of their border troops in the disputed Dokalam area.
Geng, in his remarks said, “As far as I know, Prime Minister Modi agreed that the two sides should work together to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”
During the meeting, Xi told Modi that if the bilateral relationship can grow in a sound and steady way it would serve the interests of the two countries and also serve the joint aspirations of the region, according to Geng.
“Xi stressed that China and India are each other’s important neighbours and two important markets and emerging countries,” Geng said.
The Chinese President said that “in recent years the two sides reached wide consensus on developing bilateral relations including strengthening partnership. The two sides have been moving forward and making headway upholding this principle,” according to Geng.
Geng quoted Xi as telling Modi that, “We need to show to the world that the peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation is the only right choice between the two countries. The two countries should shelve differences and seek common ground and together ensure peace and tranquillity at the borders.”
Xi also called for alignment of strategies to expand economic cooperation.
“On the economic and social development, the two countries have great potential for cooperation which should see greater synergy in strategy alignment, expand cooperation in infrastructure connectivity as well as international affairs,” the Chinese president said.
“Together we can move the international order in a more equitable and reasonable way,” Xi told Modi, according to Geng.
“China would like to work with BRICS countries to implement the outcomes of the BRICS Summit to usher in a new chapter for the BRICS cooperation,” Xi said.
Modi’s meeting with Xi was his last engagement here before he flew to Myanmar for his first bilateral visit.
Meanwhile, Modi today pitched for an organised and coordinated action on counter terrorism, as he suggested 10 commitments through which BRICS leadership for global transformation can be achieved.
Speaking at the “BRICS Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue”, organised by China on sidelines of BRICS Summit as an outreach exercise, Modi also assured India’s partnership with fellow developing countries, while pursuing its own aspirations for growth.
“Whatever we do, will impact the world substantially. So, it is our solemn duty to make a better world -brick by brick, or, through BRICS…,” Modi said.
“I had spoken about the BRICS driving the global transformation in the next ten years for it to be a Golden Decade. I suggest that this can be brought about with our proactive approach, policies and action,” he said.
Apart from Modi, leaders of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and five guest countries — Egypt, Tajikistan, Thailand, Mexico and Kenya — attended the dialogue.
Describing these countries as “close and valued” partners of India, the prime minister said he was pleased to exchange perspectives with them on the shared priority of achieving comprehensive sustainable development and thanked President Xi Jinping for bringing the countries together.
He said that BRICS, which represents almost half of the humanity, can achieve global transformation with a proactive approach, policies and action based on ten “Noble Commitments”.
The commitments include creating a safer world by organised and coordinated action on at least three issues — counter terrorism, cyber security and disaster management.
The commitments suggested by the prime minister also included creating a greener world by taking concerted action on countering climate change through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance.
Other noble commitments were — creating an enabled world, creating an inclusive world, creating a digital world, creating a skilled world, creating a healthier world, creating an equitable world, creating a connected world and creating a harmonious world.
Talking about India’s national review of sustainable development goals as per the UN’s ‘2030 Agenda’, the prime minister said the bedrock of the country’s development agenda lies in the notion of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ (with all, for everybody’s development).
“Our programmes are geared to accomplish these priority goals in a time-bound manner. To cite just one example, our three-pronged approach of providing a bank account to the unbanked, providing a biometric identity to all, and using innovative mobile governance solutions, has enabled direct benefit transfers to almost 360 million people for the first time,” he said.
Maintaining that India would like to see such domestic efforts buttressed by strong international partnerships, Modi said the country stands ready to play its part.
“India has a long tradition of partnerships with fellow developing countries, while pursuing our own aspirations for growth. At every step, we have shared our experience and resources across a range of sectors: from strengthening democratic institutions to deploying high-tech solutions for public good,” the prime minister said.
He also noted that India had launched the South Asia Satellite for the benefit of willing regional partners in meeting their developmental goals in education, healthcare, communication and disaster management.
He also said that for over half a century, India’s flagship initiative — Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) — has offered training and skill development to 161 partner countries from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Caribbean and Pacific Island states.
“And, in all of this, our ‘no strings attached’ model of cooperation is driven purely by the requirements and priorities of our partner countries,” Modi added. (PTI)