While maintaining that ties with China were on an even keel, India on Thursday was hopeful of amicably settling the border dispute through dialogue. “We have a long border with China and talks are being held between the Special Representatives. We are looking forward to an amicable settlement,” said External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna here on Thursday.
The complicated issue was being handled by seasoned diplomats proficient in issues relating to national security, he said in response to a spate of media questions on alleged Chinese intrusions in the eastern and western sections of the Sino-India border.
Dialogue with China had helped preserve peace and tranquillity on the border for over two decades and the confidence building measures intended to reduce or eliminate the perception of threat from each other had worked satisfactorily well. “Let me reiterate that India does not view China or its development as a threat. That said, however, we recognise that cooperation and competition can overlap, as it is not possible to have a perfect congruence of interests between two nations as vast and diverse as India and China. Such competition or lack of cooperation must not be misunderstood as antagonism. Our differences, when they exist, must be handled with dialogue and diplomacy,” he said.
As the border is not marked, both sides go by perceptions. And there are differences in this, he said, while agreeing with a questioner on the lack of understanding in India about the contours of the relationship.
India also asked Nepal to be mindful of its national security interests while developing closer ties with other countries. “I am sure Nepal would understand India’s security concerns while it carries on a bilateral relationship with other countries,” Mr. Krishna said, when asked how India viewed the close ties developing between Nepal and China.
Call for Indian perspective
Speaking after a function to release two books on China by the Observer Research Foundation, he was emphatic about the trajectory of India-China relations and urged greater understanding among intellectuals and the media about the areas of convergence and divergence between the two countries. He hoped the two books – “India and China – the next decade,” edited by S.D. Muni and Suranjan Das and “Managed Chaos – the fragility of the Chinese miracle” by Prem Shankar Jha — would represent the growing interest among the Indian intelligentsia in things Chinese and attempt to understand them from an Indian perspective.
Pointing to the growing relevance of China to India, whether in the precincts of the government, company boardrooms, market streets or university campuses, the Minister wanted India to develop its own intellectual framework to study the Chinese phenomenon from this side of the Himalayas.
“We can be aloof to the unfolding new challenges and opportunities presented by our largest neighbour’s rapid ascendancy only at our own peril. Nor can we rely entirely on external sources for understanding and addressing them. This is why books like “India and China — the next decade” and “Managed Chaos — the fragility of the Chinese miracle” matter indeed,” he said.