Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Monday that the standoff between the two armies in the Doklam region earlier this year had put “severe pressure” on bilateral relations.
Lessons should be learnt and it should not happen again, Wang said, according to a release on his ministry’s website a day after the two leaders met in New Delhi. The fact that the matter was settled diplomatically reflects the “maturing of bilateral ties”, he added.
Wang was in India to attend the Russia-India-China foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday. He was the first top Chinese official to visit India since the 74-day standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops that ended in August.
“The viciousness caused by the cross-border infiltration of the Indian border forces put bilateral relations under severe pressure,” the foreign ministry quoted Wang as saying.
“In 2017, relations between China and India have maintained their momentum of development as a whole,” he told Swaraj. “Both sides have made efforts in this regard, but they are not very satisfactory.”
Swaraj and Wang agreed that both countries should treat each other as “partners rather than adversaries”. Wang said cultivating mutual trust was the most important thing now, for which both sides should strengthen strategic communication at all levels and “deepen pragmatic cooperation”. He added, “If China and India speak with one voice, the world will listen. I hope this day will come soon.”
Talks with Doval: Fresh pitch for OBOR
In a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval, Wang said that China’s Belt and Road Initiative was aimed to benefit countries along its route and was an “economic cooperation initiative”.
The project includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “The initiative, with the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, is aimed at benefiting countries and their people along the route,” Wang said, according to a release. “China stands ready to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in connectivity with India.”
India has opposed the One Belt, One Road project, and made its stand clear by not sending a representative to a related conference in May. It has repeatedly said the project did not respect countries’ territorial integrity.