The Doklam standoff was blown out of proportion but it is important that the two countries do not change the status quo, India’s Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale told Beijing’s state-run daily Global Times on Friday.
Calling the military standoff a “momentary hurdle” in Sino-Indian ties, the newly appointed envoy said India and China were not “rivals”, and that they need to talk to each other and not “talk past each other”.
India and China were locked in a 74-day standoff between troops that ended in August 2017.
“I look at the Doklam stand-off from such a long-term perspective,” Bambawale said. “When you do so, the Doklam standoff is just one event in a much longer-term history,” he told the English daily.
“I believe that you are blowing it out of proportion,” he said, adding that the “people of India and China and our leaders are experienced enough and wise enough to overcome such momentary hurdles in our relationship”.
Bambawale pointed out that Beijing needed to be “sensitive” to New Delhi’s concerns about matters such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Indian-claimed territory and hence violates our territorial integrity,” he said. “This is a major problem for us. We need to talk about it, not push it under the carpet.”
The two countries should focus on broad common agendas such as globalisation, climate change and counter-terrorism, he said. He proposed frequent friendly military exchanges as well.