In first post-Doklam talks, India, China agree to maintain peace

18 November 2017

India and China on Friday agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity on their common borders was vital for the growth of bilateral ties, an Indian foreign ministry statement said, almost two-and-a-half months after the Asian giants ended a tense military standoff on the Doklam plateau at the tri-junction with Bhutan.

Officials from the two sides discussed border issues at the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs in Beijing.

"The talks were held in a constructive and forward-looking manner," India's external affairs ministry said in a statement.

"Both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of India-China border and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations," it stated.

"In this regard, the two sides also exchanged views on further confidence-building measures and strengthening of military-to-military contacts" along their almost 4,000-kilometer-long undemarcated border.

The meeting comes after Indian and Chinese troops were locked in an over two-month-long standoff at the Doklam plateau in Bhutan. The crisis, which erupted in June over Chinese moves to build a road in an area claimed by Bhutan, ended in August, with both sides deciding to "disengage" from the face-off point.

Earlier this month, Beijing protested defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to Arunachal Pradesh but New Delhi reasserted that the northeastern state was an integral part of India.

The Indian delegation was led by Pranay Verma, joint secretary (East Asia), in the ministry of external affairs, while the Chinese side was led by Xiao Qian, Director General, department of Asian affairs, in the ministry of foreign affairs

The two delegations comprised diplomatic and military officials from each side, according to the ministry statement.

The WMCC was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas.

It was established to deal with the tensions over recurring border incursions as well as to exchange views on strengthening communication and cooperation, including between the border security personnel.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute cover the Aksai Chin area which has been occupied by China since the 1962 war.

The talks were held in a constructive and forward-looking manner, the release said.

The two sides also exchanged views on further confidence-building measures (CBMs) and strengthening of military-to-military contacts, it said.

The Doklam standoff in mid-June and ended on 28 August after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India's Chicken Neck corridor. India objected to the construction highlighting security concerns in the area also claimed by Bhutan.

This is the first round of talks between the two countries after Chinese President Xi Jinping began his second five-year term as the chief of the ruling Communist Party of China last month.

The talks took place ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's planned to visit to India to take part in the Russia, India and China (RIC) foreign ministers' meeting expected to be held in New Delhi next month.

Chinese officials earlier said Wang is expected to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj as well as top Indian leaders.

The contentious issues between the two countries, including the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Bejing's veto blocking UN the listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, are expected to be discussed during Wang's talks with Indian leaders.

 search domain-b