NATIONAL

Border row: Xi, Modi find a ‘way out’

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan leave the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi on Friday.— Photo: V. Sudershan

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan leave the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi on Friday.— Photo: V. Sudershan  

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday declared that President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have found common ground to resolve the border row as part of a road map that will steer Beijing-New Delhi ties in future.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, without elaborating, said on Friday that the two leaders during their summit had “pointed a way out” on solving this [border] question. “They also reached consensus on further managing border issues.”

Mr. Hong said a decision had been taken to arrive at a “final settlement” of the border issue “as soon as possible.” His carefully worded response to a question echoed President Xi’s observation in India that Beijing had “the determination to work with India through friendly consultation to settle the boundary question at an early date.”

Without losing focus on a final resolution, controlling and managing the border disputes was also a top priority, to ensure that the headwinds from the frontiers did not “influence the development of bilateral ties.” Mr. Hong observed that the Indian side had agreed “to work with China to properly handle border issues and find a way to resolve the border issue as soon as possible.”

Tensions along the Sino-Indian frontier acquired a sharper focus during Mr. Xi’s presence in India, following the border incident in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The spokesman lauded Prime Minister Modi’s observations on Tibet, referring to the agreement reached by the two sides to “respect each other’s concerns [and] deepen mutual trust.” He praised remarks attributed to Mr. Modi that “Tibet is [an] integral part of China and India does not allow any separatist activities in India.”

Analysts point out that during his entire visit, Mr. Xi remained focussed on the “big picture,” pitching the trajectory of Sino-Indian ties in the context of an evolving Asia as well as the globe.

‘Anchors of peace’

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua referred to Mr. Xi’s remarks during an address in New Delhi that China and India should be “express trains” driving regional development, as well as “twin anchors” of regional peace. “When China and India join hands for cooperation, it will benefit not only the two countries but also the entire Asia and the world at large,” Mr. Xi had observed.

Significantly, at a time when the United States, along with its regional allies, including Japan, Australia and the Philippines had embarked on its China-centric Pivot to Asia, President Xi, during his New Delhi address, invited India to become part of a new, inclusive security architecture in the Asia-Pacific.



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