International

India and China 'partners' not 'rivals' in the post-Doklam phase, says Gautam Bambawale

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, right, talks with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi before their delegation-level meeting in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Analysts say that a new understanding fostered by the two countries during the Xiamen BRICS summit in September was consolidated during the December visits to India by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and China’s state councilor and politburo member Yang Jiechi.   | Photo Credit: AP

India’s ambassador to China, Gautam Bambawale has advocated a new phase of dialogue between India and China, to foster a stronger post-Doklam “partnership” between the two countries.

In an interview with Global Times, which appeared ahead of the India’s Republic Day, Mr. Bambawale rejected the notion that the two civilizational states were “rivals”.

“India and China are partners in development and progress,” the ambassador observed.  He added: “We are not rivals.”

Mr. Bambawale’s comments coincide with the presence of 10 ASEAN heads in New Delhi—an event that is being held amid media speculation that the gathering was India’s riposte to China’s rise and assertion in the
region. Analysts say that a new understanding fostered by the two countries during the Xiamen BRICS summit in September was consolidated during the December visits to India by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and China’s state councilor and politburo member Yang Jiechi.

Asked to comment on last year’s 73-day military standoff between India and China at Doklam, Mr. Bambawale said that the incident should be viewed in a larger historical perspective. “I look at the Doklam standoff from such a long-term perspective. When you do so, the Doklam standoff is just one event in a much longer term history. I believe that you are blowing it out of proportion. The people of India and China and our leaders are experienced enough and wise enough to overcome such momentary hurdles in our relationship,” he observed.

India’s top envoy in Beijing also proposed an active multi-level dialogue covering all the bases between India and China in the post-Doklam phase. “I believe that in the post-Doklam period, India and China need to be talking to each other and conversing with each other much more than in the past. This should be done at many different levels, including at the leadership level, the official level and the people-to-people level.”

He added: “We need to be talking and communicating with each other much more than we are doing. Such communication should be frank, candid and open. If we are able to do so successfully, we will
understand each other much better and we will build trust and confidence in each other. With enhanced trust and understanding will come a stronger partnership between India and China.  I would like to
say that India and China are partners in development and progress.”

Mr. Bambawale also stressed that in the new phase of talks, both sides should also focus on the quality of the dialogue—showing greater sensitivity and appreciation of each other’s core concerns. “In our
conversations and discussions, it is important to talk to each other and not talk past each other. We must be sensitive to the other side's concerns. Our interaction must be based on equality and mutual
benefit.”

Without making a specific reference to the Doklam standoff, which India says was rooted in China’s attempt to build a road in a disputed tri-junction area, Mr. Bambawale said:  “Also, in the India-China
border areas, especially at some sensitive points, it is important not to change the status quo. We need to be clear about this.”

The Indian envoy highlighted that differences between India and China on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be frontally addressed in the next phase of talks. He underscored that “the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Indian-claimed territory and hence violates our territorial integrity. This is a major problem for us. We need to talk about it, not push it under the carpet. I believe, the more we talk to each other, the easier it will become to resolve problems.”

Mr. Bambawale listed a broad common agenda between India and China, which included support for globalisation, climate change, and global counterterrorism.

The ambassador also proposed frequent friendly military exchanges between the two countries, to supplement interaction at the leadership, official, and people-to-people levels. “In line with this
thinking, India and China should work together in 2018 to have more summit-level meetings and official meetings. In addition, we should enhance exchanges of parliamentarians, business persons, journalists,
academicians, students, sportspersons and film makers.”

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 9, 2021 3:06:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-and-china-partners-not-rivals-in-the-post-doklam-phase-says-gautam-bambawale/article22528853.ece

Next Story