Doklam: Chinese media relents, India harps on spirit of Astana

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28 July 2017

The Chinese media diatribe against India seems to have somewhat eased after the official meeting between top Indian and Chinese officials, in what is considered the first serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the tension built up by the Doklam stand-off.

India's national security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on Thursday held talks with China's state councillor Yang Jiechi in Beijing on some of the ''bilateral issues and major problems,'' signalling that the stand-off in Doklam between Chinese and Indian troops in the Sikkim sector was on the agenda.

While Thursday's meeting offered the possibility of serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the confrontation, China's official Xinhua news agency said besides Doval, Yang also held talks with national security advisors of three other BRICS nations Brazil, Russia and South Africa in the Chinese capital.

''Yang also separately exchanged views with the three senior representatives on bilateral relations, international and regional issues and multilateral affairs, and set forth China's position on bilateral issues and major problems.''

During talks with his BRICS counterparts Yang is reported to have discussed issues concerning bilateral relations, international and regional issues and multilateral affairs, the official Xinhua news agency said.

This is in contrast to the comments published in the Global Times that were seen to reflect the views of the government.

In New Delhi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said India had always been open to cooperation with China and that the country remained open to Chinese companies. ''There is no policy to deny China (business opportunities),'' she said in reply to a question.

Swaraj, however, maintained that despite commitment to improve bilateral ties, India had not hesitated to protest whenever differences arose with China about issues like stapled visas for Indian citizens from Arunachal or the visit of Dalai Lama to Tawang.

However, Swraj told Rajya Sabha that there was no quid pro quo with China on the issue of ''sufferings'' of the Tibetans and stapled visas being given to Arunachal Pradesh residents by Beijing.

Minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar, speaking in the Rajya Sabha, highlighted the agreement on ''development partnership'' reached between the two countries in Astana last month and the need for increased ''people-to-people contact,'' even as Akbar.

Responding to a question regarding China's recent denial of visa to a group of journalists to Tibet and the remedial measures being taken to defuse the Doklam stand-off, he said the two countries had agreed to work together. ''(I) want to state one thing certainly... that when Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping met in Astana, a closer development partnership was discussed and both countries decided that we will intensify our people-to-people contacts and do whatever is necessary to bring both countries closer.''

The statement about closer developmental partnership was also reiterated by MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay who described bilateral ties between the two countries as a ''factor of stability'' and reiterated the 8 June ''Astana consensus'' under which both sides agreed to resolve disputes through negotiations.





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