“It’s time to put India-China relations back on the track by implementing the consensus of the leaders and handling differences properly.” This is the latest message from China’s Ambassador to India Sun Weidong, which reflects and encapsulates Beijing’s intent to seek friendly and cooperative relations with India which have suffered adversely over the last two months of stand-off between troops of the two countries.
In a video message on July 10, the Chinese envoy underlined that India and China need peace rather than confrontation and should work together to maintain peace and tranquillity along their contested border until they find a “reasonable solution” to the complicated issue through negotiations.
In this overarching message of peace and goodwill, the Chinese envoy called for a rethink of India-China relations through the prism of friendship and partnership, rather than confrontation and rivalry. Looking ahead, the envoy enunciated the five-point mantra:
- First, China and India should be partners, rather than rivals.
- Second, China and India need peace rather than confrontation.
- Third, China and India need to pursue win-win cooperation instead of zero-sum game.
- Fourth, China and India need to build trust, rather than suspicion.
- Fifth, China-India relations should move forward rather than backward.
Without mentioning the two informal summits between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan and Chennai, the Chinese ambassador underscored the need to implement the leaders’ consensus in letter and spirit. “It is even more important to firmly grasp the consensus reached by our two leaders when the bilateral relations are overshadowed,” he said.
“I believe as long as we follow the guidance of our two leaders, implement the consensus reached by the Special Representatives, focus on friendship and cooperation, defuse suspicion and misgivings, and properly handle differences and sensitive issues, we will be able to address challenges we are facing and bring the bilateral relations back on the right track for a sound and steady development,” he added. “We need to seek convergence while putting aside differences and not impose one’s will on the other. We should honour our commitment, walk the talk, and ensure implementation of the leaders’ consensus in letter and in spirit,” Mr Sun said.
The Chinese ambassador added that India and China need to build trust through mutual respect and treating each other as equals. The two sides need to “respect and accommodate mutual core interests and major concerns” and adhere to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, he said.
The envoy placed China’s position against the backdrop of partial disengagement by Indian and Chinese troops at key friction points in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) after over a two-month standoff. India has reiterated its rejection of China’s claim on Galwan Valley, the site of a violent clash on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and resulted in unconfirmed Chinese casualties.
Decoupling? Let’s Get Real
Days after India banned 59 Chinese app in retaliation against killing of Indian soldiers in Ladakh, the envoy struck a conciliatory note.
“Some people have been trumpeting the so-called “decoupling” of China-India economic and trade relations, with an attempt to completely exclude “Made in China”. One basic fact they ignore is that the current global industrial and supply chains are formed in a process of natural selection by market optimization over the past decades,” he said.
Underlining that the business community and people of India are the beneficiaries of China-India economic and trade cooperation, the envoy cautioned India that “any self-protection, non-tariff barriers and restrictive measures against China are unfair to Chinese enterprises, unfair to Indian employees who lost their jobs as a result, and unfair to Indian consumers who can’t get access to the products and services they deserve.
“It will only harm others without benefit to oneself, and it will eventually hurt oneself as well,” he said. He also reminded India of the decision to set up
“a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism, strengthen the synergy of economic development strategies and explore the establishment of a “manufacturing partnership”.
“Only through openness and cooperation can we get out of the shadow of COVID-19 and find a way to revive economy at an early date,” he said.
Looking ahead, the envoy said that it’s time to create a favorable atmosphere for the 70th anniversary of India-China diplomatic ties by building a positive narrative of the bilateral partnership and exploring win-win cooperation.
“We should meet each other half way, expand positive dimension of cooperation, narrow down negative factors and refrain from doing harm to mutual trust and cooperation,” he said. “In face of the epidemic, we may explore new ways and channels to promote communication and understanding between the two peoples to create a favorable atmosphere for the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties,” he said.
“The media outlets of our two countries should also make their efforts in an objective, rational and responsible manner, avoid inciting antagonism in an effort to contribute positive energy to the steady and sound development of China-India relations.”
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