By Liu Xuanzun/Global Times
Beijing, January 13: The 14th round of China-India corps commander level meeting on Wednesday showed positive signs, as the two sides agreed to work for a resolution on the border issue as soon as possible and to take effective steps to maintain security and stability on the ground.
Compared with the 13th round of military meeting three months ago, which ended in tension, the friendly atmosphere this time is a good sign, even if differences remain and no concrete breakthroughs were made, Chinese experts said on Thursday.
The 14th round of China-India corps commander level meeting was held at the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on Wednesday, with the presence of representatives from the defense and foreign affairs establishments of the two sides, read a joint press release published by China’s Ministry of Defense on Thursday.
During the meeting, the two sides had a frank and in-depth exchange of views for the resolution of the relevant issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector, and agreed that both sides should follow the guidance provided by the leaders of the two countries and work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest date, the press release said, noting that this would help in the restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations.
The two sides also agreed to consolidate the previous outcomes and make effective efforts to maintain security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector, including during the winter, the release said.
China and India agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest date. In this context, it was also agreed that the next round of the commanders’ talks should be held at the earliest possible time, according to the release.
The meeting is a good sign and showed good momentum, breaking away from the heavy atmosphere after the 13th round of meeting, which did not even result in a joint press release, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
This time, the meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere. Even if no significant breakthrough was made on concrete issues, which shows that differences still exist, both sides can make efforts to positively move forward by keeping communications channels open, maintaining the stability of the situation and continuing to push for a resolution, Qian said.
The meeting comes as India recently sent several positive signals to China.
India decided not to join some of the Western countries like the US in their campaign for a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics, as the Indian government applied its “neighborhood first” policy, Indian media reported on Wednesday.
A report by Bloomberg on Tuesday said India is considering easing curbs on some Chinese investments.
India has come to an understanding that besides the border question, it can cooperate with China in many fields, like on international issues, the economy and trade, Qian said, noting that this is in line with the interests of India, and it can achieve win-win cooperation with China.
Some Indian media reports on Thursday claimed that the 14th round of meeting “failed to move forward” despite it being constructive, because no disengagement was achieved.
However, dialogue is always better than confrontation, and on-site meetings by corps commanders will contribute to practically solving the questions, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday.
China and India have different focuses on the border question, and from the Chinese point of view, India had been making unrealistic demands, Song said, noting that that is why the two sides need more talks, and need to understand each other and meet each other halfway, so as to achieve periodic results.
The two countries’ commitment shown in the joint press release in making effective efforts to maintain security and stability, including during the winter, is also of significance, because this will further reduce the risk of accidents and conflicts, and it shows both sides’ will to safeguard stability and avoid conflict, Qian pointed out.
The joint press release also mentioned that both defense and foreign affairs representatives from both sides participated in the meeting. This, again, shows that communications between the two countries are very open, experts said.
On the same day of the meeting, Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane told Indian media on Wednesday that India will continue to deal with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in a firm and resolute manner.
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Thursday’s regular press conference that individuals from India should refrain from making unconstructive remarks.